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Daughter of the Dark Side by Lyra Lestrange Summary: Lindsey Tonks appears to be a normal, almost invisible Hogwarts student,

but underneath her is someone far from normal. What the world doesn't know is that Lindsey is in fact the daughter of two well-known imprisoned Death Eaters...and has an identity she must hide from the world, because underneath Lindsey Tonks is a girl named Lyra Lestrange, a girl who is meant to be secret and hidden forever. But will it last forever? *Begins in GoF and follows the series through DH. **Will appeal to fans of the Black family! Prominent characters are Bellatrix, Tonks, Andromeda, Sirius, and (to an extent) Narcissa. Part Four Synopsis: It's the summer after Albus Dumbledore's death, and the whole world seems to be falling to Voldemort and the Death Eaters. Broken-hearted Lyra, unable to return to Hogwarts, must go into hiding with her family. It doesn't last long, and eventually Lyra is faced with a choice: join or die. Lyra's decision comes with many surprises, including a new ally who follows her to the final battle of good versus evil. While Lyra's path may seem clear, she finds herself torn between two sides for the final time, and in the end, despite tragedy and loss, Lyra accomplishes the impossible...which defies all of the agreements she and her family ever made. Three years later, the fic has been completely finished! Enjoy reading it without having to wait for new chapters. Thanks to those who patiently waited and faithfully reviewed! Categories: Alternate Universe Characters: None Warnings: Alternate Universe, Character Death, DH Spoilers Challenges: Series: None Chapters: 57 Completed: Yes Word count: 156923 Read: 91907 Published: 04/25/08 Updated: 03/05/11 Story Notes: Though Lyra is from my own imagination, JK Rowling owns the rest of the Potterverse! This is my first (and probably only) chapter fic, so I would love to know what you think! 1. Prologue by Lyra Lestrange 2. Chapter 1- The Campsite by Lyra Lestrange

3. Chapter 2- The Match and the Mark by Lyra Lestrange 4. Chapter 3- School Shopping by Lyra Lestrange 5. Chapter 4- Return to Hogwarts by Lyra Lestrange 6. Chapter 5- The Auror and the Curses by Lyra Lestrange 7. Chapter 6- Arrival of the Rivals by Lyra Lestrange 8. Chapter 7- Holiday in Hogsmeade by Lyra Lestrange 9. Chapter 8- Big Night by Lyra Lestrange 10. Chapter 9- Day at the Lake by Lyra Lestrange 11. Chapter 10- The Easter Holidays by Lyra Lestrange 12. Chapter 11- The Imposter by Lyra Lestrange 13. Chapter 12- The Order by Lyra Lestrange 14. Chapter 13- Spilling Secrets by Lyra Lestrange 15. Chapter 14- Fifth Year Begins by Lyra Lestrange 16. Chapter 15- Hermione's Idea by Lyra Lestrange 17. Chapter 16- Christmas at Grimmauld Place by Lyra Lestrange 18. Chapter 17- The Truth by Lyra Lestrange 19. Chapter 18- Escape and Encounter by Lyra Lestrange 20. Chapter 19- Gamma Orionis by Lyra Lestrange 21. Chapter 20- The Beginning of the End by Lyra Lestrange 22. Chapter 21- Floo, Fire, and Flight by Lyra Lestrange 23. Chapter 22- An Unexpected Twist by Lyra Lestrange 24. Chapter 23- Blood Spills Blood by Lyra Lestrange 25. Chapter 24- Aftermath by Lyra Lestrange 26. Chapter 25- Going Back by Lyra Lestrange

27. Chapter 26- Depression and Destruction by Lyra Lestrange 28. Chapter 27- A Pensieve of Memories by Lyra Lestrange 29. Chapter 28- Rage in the Robe Shop by Lyra Lestrange 30. Chapter 29- Dora's Diary by Lyra Lestrange 31. Chapter 30- Identity Issues by Lyra Lestrange 32. Chapter 31- Nott in the Plan by Lyra Lestrange 33. Chapter 32- Brooms and Bludgers by Lyra Lestrange 34. Chapter 33- Stars and Snakes by Lyra Lestrange 35. Chapter 34- Visit to the Village by Lyra Lestrange 36. Chapter 35- Realizations by Lyra Lestrange 37. Chapter 36- Red and Green by Lyra Lestrange 38. Chapter 37- The Trophy Room by Lyra Lestrange 39. Chapter 38- The Tale of the Three Sisters by Lyra Lestrange 40. Chapter 39- Boggart Battle by Lyra Lestrange 41. Chapter 40- Temper Takes Control by Lyra Lestrange 42. Chapter 41- Torn Loyalties by Lyra Lestrange 43. Chapter 42- The True End by Lyra Lestrange 44. Chapter 43- Remus Realizes by Lyra Lestrange 45. Chapter 44- Lost in the Chaos by Lyra Lestrange 46. Chapter 45- The Order's Ordeal by Lyra Lestrange 47. Chapter 46- Fallen by Lyra Lestrange 48. Chapter 47- Family Departing by Lyra Lestrange 49. Chapter 48- Nightmare Come True by Lyra Lestrange 50. Chapter 49- The Life Lost by Lyra Lestrange 51. Chapter 50- Betrayal by Lyra Lestrange

52. Chapter 51- Sad Story by Lyra Lestrange 53. Chapter 52- The End Arrives by Lyra Lestrange 54. Chapter 53- Finale by Lyra Lestrange 55. Chapter 54- The Lost Letters by Lyra Lestrange 56. Chapter 56- The Ceremony by Lyra Lestrange 57. Epilogue by Lyra Lestrange Prologue by Lyra Lestrange ~Prologue~ There was a man more evil than any who had ever lived terrorizing the country. Every day more peopleMuggles, witches, and wizards alikewere being destroyed by his wicked followers, or perhaps the evil man himself. It was a time of pure darkness and despair, and it seemed the cruel war that raged would never end. The evil lord had followers. Some were perfectly loyal to him. Others were devoted to him beyond anything. They would do anything, anything, to give him what he wanted, and if they failed, they would accept their punishment without objection. Wizard society had morphed into this world or turmoil, and it seemed that this was the fate of the race. The evil mans followers know as Death Eaterswould stop at nothing. It was the dark year of 1981 when my parents were sent to Azkaban. I was only a year old, too young to know about the terrible events that were occurring each day. Many would say it was much like Harry Potters story: a year old child being left in the care of other family members because their parents (for one reason or another) werent able to care for them. Furthermore, the cause of it was the vicious war. However, I believe the stories are completely different. For one, Harry Potter was sent to his unloving aunt and uncle, while I was welcomed by my mothers sister and her family. While Harrys parents died, mine were still alive. Unlike Harry, I wasnt raised by Muggles. But the biggest difference was the fact that Harrys parents and my parents were on opposite sides of the Wizarding war. My parents were Death Eaters, and not only were they in Voldemorts select inner circle but they were his two most loyal

servants. After committing punishment-worthy crimes they were captured and sent to the fortress, leaving me in my aunt and uncles care. There I grew up with my cousin, and that was the place I returned to every summer when I wasnt at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. I never knew my parents, but Id heard some stories about them (though my family flat-out refused to ever tell me why they were sent to Azkaban). I knew they were in Slytherin House at Hogwarts and were completely for the blood purity factor, yet that was something I never quite understood. I didnt know why some people were so keen to destroy the Muggles, Squibs, and Muggle-borns. Since my unclethe one who raised mewas a Muggle-born, I always had respect for them. My mother had two sisters and apparently wanted me sent to the one who wasnt a blood traitor (the one who married a pureblood rather than a Muggle-born like her other sister). But her sister wouldnt take me because she had a son of her own and didnt want to care for two children, so I was sent to the other sister who already had a daughter but graciously took me in. When I started school, I expected to be sorted into Slytherin House just like the rest of my family, with few exceptions such as my cousin, who was in Hufflepuff. But I was put in Gryffindor, much to my surprise. The only person in my family that ever became Gryffindor was my second cousin, Siriusand he ended up being accused of mass murder. But upon my arrival at school, I had to use an alias. The Ministry wanted to hush up my existence. That was how I grew up. Nobody knew my true identity, and it was designed so that they never would. Though it seemed the war was finished at the time, my parents were still in prison ... and while the Ministry had no way of erasing the memory of their terrible crimes, they were able to erase their daughters existence to a degree. Sometimes it annoyed me to no end. I hated having to be a different person, because I couldnt get close to anyone. If I did, there was the chance that they would discover the truth, defeating the purpose of everything the Ministry did. They said it was for my own protectionso Voldemorts followers wouldnt come after me. I never really understood this until I started school, but after being put in Gryffindor I realized that if the Death Eaters found out my true identity, they would want me gone. I would probably be considered a blood traitor by their standards. But that was how it was. That was who I was. As much as I disliked it, I had to accept the fact that I was the hidden, unknown daughter

of Bellatrix and Rodolphus Lestrange. End Notes: Reviews are much appreciated! I will respond to all! Back to index Chapter 1- The Campsite by Lyra Lestrange Author's Notes: JK Rowling owns Harry Potter... This chapter is basically an introduction to the characters. The inciting incident is in chapter two. ~~PART ONE- READING THE SIGNS~~ ~Chapter 1- The Campsite~ The sun beat down on a Muggle campsite in the woods where I was working hard to pitch a tent Muggle-style. It was far more difficult than it appeared, and I was tempted to draw my wand and magically pitch it when no one was looking, though it was too risky with so many Muggles about. Finally, after an unnecessary amount of time and frustration, I managed. I walked inside and saw that the tent was influenced by magic. It was expanded to have a bathroom and kitchen area along with four bunk beds. Happy that I wouldnt be sleeping in a bag on the hard ground, I flopped down on a lower bunk and stared at the wooden boards of the bed above me. My stomach growled, making me realize how truly hungry I was. The Quidditch world cup was only a few hours away, and I couldnt go on an empty stomach. The flap of the tent opened and my cousin came in. After taking in the obviously unforeseen surroundings, she noticed me on the bed. Lyra, are you coming to help us start the fire? she asked. Nobody told me we were starting the fire, I replied plainly, though not rudely. And since were out in public, you should call me Lindsey. Identity purposes, remember? All right then, Lindsey. So, what do you think of this hairstyle? I decided to try for blue. Red was getting a little old. I looked at her extraordinarily bright blue hair, which was in a low ponytail with pieces of bangs falling out of it. I think it looks fine, I said indifferently. I dont, she said as she approached the mirror in our tent. She

screwed up her eyes really tight, and a second later her hair turned an aqua-green color, just as unnatural as the blue had been (along with every color she made her hair for that matter). Hows that? I shrugged. It doesnt make a difference to me. Well, it wouldnt. Youre stuck with brown hair and brown eyes for your life. Why dont I justyou knowchange it up a bit. She approached me with her wand and pointed it at my head. What would you like? Black with green streaks? Dora! I know youre a Metamorphmagus, but you dont have to rub it in my face! She laughed. Okay, okay. Brown hair works. Thank you, I muttered as I stood up from the bed. All right, what about that fire? I followed her out of the tent to where my aunt and uncle were sitting by a fire pit. They appeared to be preparing food. As soon as we walked out, my aunt approached us and exclaimed, Oh, perfect! Will you two go to the tap and get some water? Its time to cook dinner. She was Andromeda Tonks, my mothers sister, my aunt, and my guardian. She was a wide-eyed woman with brown hair like me, though hers was lighter. This was an advantage when it came to hiding my identity. Nobody ever doubted that Andromeda was my mother (ironically, I looked more like her than Dora did, even though Dora was her own daughteryet, I knew this was because Dora had changed her hair and facial features with her Metamorphosing). Yes, well get some water, Dora said in answer to Andromedas request. Im starving! Lets go. Make it fast, said the man in front of the fire pit. Im so hungry I could eat a centaur! Dora rolled her eyes; I groaned. Typical Ted. Needless to say, Ted Tonks was my uncle: Muggle-born, a rather large man with a jolly attitude, quite a slob (the exact opposite of his wife), and the cause of Andromedas family disownment. Though he had proven to be a great guardian over the years, many people looked uncertain when I claimed he was my father. I didnt look like him at all, and the only false explanation I could come up with was that I had inherited all of Andromedas genetics.

I dont think thats such a good idea, Dora said, acknowledging Teds joke about the centaur. Come on, Lindsey. She motioned for me to follow her. Keep an eye on her, Nymphadora, Andromeda said. Yes, I will. I felt a tiny pang of irritation. It seemed that everyone always thought I needed to be looked after like some small, helpless child. Just because I had to hide my identity from the world didnt mean I had to be protected at every momentI was fourteen, plenty old enough to know not to talk to strangers or wander into unfamiliar places. But there was no point in saying anything, so I trailed behind Dora as she left our tent area. We set off through the campsite, following the map Andromeda gave us. Almost everything here was decorated in green for Ireland and red for Bulgaria, the two teams playing in the match, but other tents had decorations according to their respective country. Festive, isnt it? Dora asked. Yes, I replied. Now, wheres that tap? That way, I said, pointing across the field. Thats perfect. Whoa! She had just tripped over a toy broomstick on the ground. A little witch, no older than three, came walking forward to retrieve it, giving Dora a nasty look before snatching the broom up and returning to her tent. Nice going, Nymphadora, I mocked. Dont call me Nymphadora, she snapped. My mothers the only one who calls me that and Look out, I warned. Augh! she said, jumping over a tree stump at the last moment. You should really watch where youre going, I said. Sorry. Its not my fault Im so clumsy. That was Dora, the clumsy witch who had miraculously managed to become an Auror for the Ministry of Magic after being out of

Hogwarts for just four years. The way she could change her appearance at will greatly helped her in this office, but she always walked with two left feet, an obvious disadvantage. Her transformation powers almost made up for this, though. I had a strong envy of herI would give a lot to be able to change the way I looked, because people often stared at me in public and I knew they were thinking of Bellatrix. I looked too much like her with my pale skin, brown eyes, and dark hair. It was soon after the Dark Lord Voldemorts downfall that Bellatrix and Rodolphus Lestrange were sent to Azkaban, and nobody would tell me why. All I knew was that Bellatrix screamed as they dragged her away, yelling, No! I have a daughter who needs me! Lyra needs me! Dont send me to Azkaban; I need to look after her! The Ministry assumed she was making it up as an excuse to get out of being arrested, but they searched their records and found out that the Lestranges did in fact have a daughter. They said the words Bellatrix screamed as she was shut in her Azkaban cell were, Fine! Send her to Narcissa! Send her there, not to my blood traitor sister! Send her to Narcissa! Of course Narcissa Malfoy, her younger sister, wouldnt take me, so I was sent to Andromeda. The Ministry wanted to keep me a secret from the world, so I was given a false name and took the last name of my aunt and uncle: Tonks. I was recorded as being their daughter rather than their niece, and to the world I was known as Lindsey Tonks, not Lyra Lestrange. That was how my life had always been, even during the summer after my third year at Hogwarts, at the Quidditch World Cup campsite. Look up ahead, Dora told me. What? I snapped out of my trance. My parents arrest was something that had played through my head so many times to the point that I felt like I had witnessed it myself. I remembered where I was after a blurry second in which I had to tell myself to put that scene out of my mind. This must be where the Irish are camping, Dora remarked, pointing ahead to an ocean of bright green where the tents were emerald waves decorated in shamrocks. To my surprise, I heard someone call my name. Hey, Lindsey! I spun on the spot to the source of the sound and saw Seamus

Finnigan, a Gryffindor boy in the same Hogwarts year as me. He was completely dressed in green for Ireland. He stood next to his best friend, Dean Thomas, also in my year and house. Hi, Seamus. Hi, Dean. Seamus, whos this? a woman asked as she approached. She had the same sandy-brown hair as Seamusshe had to be his mother. This is Lindsey Tonks. She goes to Hogwarts with Dean and me, Seamus explained. But Im not sure who this is. This is my sister, Nymph I began, but Dora cut me off. Im Tonks, just Tonks. I prefer to go by my surname only. Nice to meet you, Mrs. Finnigan said. You will be supporting Ireland, right? Yes, Dora confirmed. Nice decorations. Thanks, Seamus said. The Ministry doesnt like them, but its better than what the Bulgarians have on their tents. Which is what? Dora asked. Why dont you go see? Seamus suggested with a hint of disgust. Youll see how pathetic they are. We will, Dora said. We have to pass through their area to get to the tap anyway. Well, well see you around; we need to get some water. We walked on and found that the green ended. The tents we saw now were covered in Bulgarian flags andgiant posters of Viktor Krum, the famous Bulgarian Seeker. Though I had never seen him, there was no mistaking the young man that Bulgarian Quidditch fans practically worshiped. It wasnt just Bulgaria, actuallyhe was world-famous, and one of his fans was standing right next to me. Is that Krum? I asked Dora. Yeah, she sighed. I cant believe were actually seeing him for real tonight! You know, hes about the same age as I am, give or take a few years. Dora, theres the tap, I said to her, but her eyes were full of a dreamy expression. Dora! Stop dreaming about Krum; I found the tap! I kicked her in the ankle and her mesmerized look instantly vanished.

Ouch! Well, thats what you get! Youll see him at the match tonight, but right now we need water! Im starving! Okay! But honestly she said as we walked toward the queue for the tap. What do you think of him? I dont think hes very handsome, I said flatly. His eyebrows are all thick, did you see? And all the posters did were blink and frown. Really, he looks like hes always grumpy. Hes just a Quidditch player, after all. This was the wrong thing to say, because Dora faced me and said, Just a Quidditch player? Viktor Krum is a legend! Obviously she wasnt the only one who felt this way, because the girls in line behind us were glaring at me. I rolled my eyes at them and moved up in line. Once we got our water, we traipsed back to the tent. On the way I saw more fellow Hogwarts students including Oliver Wood, the former Gryffindor Quidditch captain; Cedric Diggory, an older Hufflepuff student who was also a Seeker for his Hogwarts Quidditch team; Luna Lovegood, a Ravenclaw girl who was sitting with her father and eating what looked like miniature purple pumpkins on sticks which gave off a foul odor; and the Weasley childrenBill, Charlie, Percy, Fred, George, Ron, Ginny, and their friends Hermione Granger and Harry Potter. They were with a man who was unmistakably Mr. Weasley, a balding wizard with red hair and glasses. Mr. Weasley spotted Dora and Ron, Harry, and Hermione spotted mewe were also in the same year and house. Dora and I walked over to them. Nymphadora! Mr. Weasley said. I didnt expect to see you out here! Hows it going in the Auror office? Fine, thanks, Dora replied. I brought the kids out here for the match, of course. This is my oldest son, Bill, and this is CharlieI believe you went to school with them? And this is Percy Percy Weasley stood up straight and pompously shook Doras hand, saying, Pleased to meet you, Auror Tonks.

Hes just started working for the Ministry, Mr. Weasley went on. And this is Fredno, sorry, this is George, thats Fred. Two twin boys waved in unison and held out their hands to shake, but Mr. Weasley said, Now, boys, dont give her any fake wands! Shes an Auror! George scowled at his father and muttered, I cant believe you dont trust us, but I swore I saw him stuff something into his robe pocket. And this is Ron, my youngest son; Ginny, my daughter; their friend Hermione Granger; and Harry Potter. Nice to meet you, Dora said as she shook their hands. I saw her eyes move to the infamous lightning-bolt scar on Harrys forehead. Im Nymphadora Tonks, but you can just call me Tonks, she told them quickly. And this is my sister, Lindsey. Ive met most of them. We go to school together, remember? I said as I exchanged smiles with Harry, Ron, and Hermione. Oh, thats right! You said you were in the same house as Harry Potter! Sorry, I may be an Auror but Im still extremely clumsy and forgetful She tripped over a toy broomstick earlier, I told them. And she almost tripped over a tree stump. Anyway, Dora said with an obvious edge in her voice that told me to shut my mouth, Lindsey, we need to get back. Mum and Dad are waiting. She began to rush me away. See you at school, I said to them quickly. Or at the match, if youre sitting near us. Were in the Top Box! Percy Weasley boasted. Dad got tickets at the Ministry! He works in the Misuse of Muggle Artifacts office, and I just started working in the Department of International Magical Cooperation! Its great working there! I really think that I can But whatever Percy could do, I never found out, nor did I really care. Dora muttered something under her breath that sounded a lot like, Pompous idiot. Ron complains about him, I told her. I never really knew Percy,

but when he was in the common room doing homework, he always told people off for talking to him. Hes obviously dedicated, but he is really self-centered. But the twins are funny, theyre always making jokes. Anyway, it doesnt matter, Dora. Who says we need Top Box seats anyway? We finally made it back to our tent where Ted had started a fire. I placed the bucket of water on the ground and sat next to Dora on a log that had been dragged over as a seat. Andromeda scolded us for being late. Sorry, I said. But we met some people along the way and stopped to talk. We cooked some sausages and vegetables over the fire and ate them in the twilight. When we finished, Dora said, Lindsey, we should buy some souvenirs. Okay! I said brightly. Is it okay if we go? I added, turning hopefully to Ted and Andromeda. Well, I wouldnt mind if you stayed behind and helped me clean up, Andromeda said. But I suppose thats okay. Come on Mum, you know Im terrible at cleaning spells anyway, Dora said. She turned to me. Well, lets get our money! We went inside the tent. I grabbed my purse which had a fair amount of wizard money in it. Dora grabbed her bag and headed out with me. Hold on she said as she stopped in front of the mirror. She screwed up her eyes and turned her hair green. Then she concentrated again and her eyes, which had been blue before, now blinked with emerald irises. Hows that? she asked me as she turned around and tucked her bangs behind her ears. Why dont you just turn yourself into a leprechaun? I joked. She gave me a nasty look and strolled out. Dora, I was joking! I called as I ran out of the tent after her. I didnt mean to offend you! I know you didnt, she said, smiling. Now, souvenirs! We approached the salesman selling all sorts of hats, pins, scarves, and flags for Ireland and Bulgaria, figurines of the players (the Krum

models seemed to be the most popular), and Omnioculars, which allowed things like watching the game in slow motion or zooming in close. I bought a pair of Omnioculars as well as a green Irish hat with a shamrock on it. Dora bought the same hat (which, as she pointed out, went perfectly with her hair), an Irish scarf, and Omnioculars too. Suddenly a loud gong sounded from somewhere in the woods and a path of green and red lanterns lit up and glittered along a path. Andromeda and Ted hurried over to us. Its time to go! Ted exclaimed. Follow that path! We walked along the trail of lights toward the stadium, and as we did so I was filled with anticipation at the thought of seeing the legendary Quidditch World Cup. Back to index Chapter 2- The Match and the Mark by Lyra Lestrange Author's Notes: This is the chapter that the story really begins in. While I wished I owned Harry Potter, I don't... ~Chapter 2- The Match and the Mark~ The Quidditch World Cup ended up being more than I had ever imagined, even for me, someone who had never really taken an interest in Quidditch. Despite the almost overwhelming massiveness of everything there and Doras bitterness over veela (which, as I had learned that night, were stunningly beautiful women that quickly turned men into zombies with their flawless facesDora disliked them because she could make herself look like that if she wanted), Irelands triumph over Bulgaria ended up being spectacular (and Doras attitude had improved when Viktor Krum had caught the Snitch, gaining Bulgarias glory for himself). All in all, the trek through the woods and even longer climb to the height of our stadium seats ended up being worth it. Now we were back at the tent in the campsite. Outside, the Irish were celebrating and the leprechauns floated all over the grounds. Andromeda, Ted, Dora, and I sat at the table in the center of our tent playing Exploding Snap and discussing the game. It was getting really late and we were all tired. When Dora let out a huge yawn, Andromeda said it was time for us to go to bed. I changed into my pajamas (just a Muggle sweat suit) and collapsed onto my bunk bed. I was pulling the covers back when a sudden sharp pain shot through my right wrist. I grabbed it and let out a moan as the sting began to ebb into a painful throbbing. Something wrong? Ted asked me from his bunk.

Im fine, my wrist just started hurting, I said as I rubbed the spot where it ached. I couldnt think of any reason for it to be hurting because I knew I hadnt injured it in any way. Somethings wrong, Dora said. My wrist hurt too badly to take in her words, but once the pain subsided I realized what she meant. Outside the tent we could hear people running around and screaming in panic as human silhouettes and shadows of shooting spells appeared to fly across the tent wall. Whats going on? I inquired as Andromeda crossed the tent and looked outside. Is everything all right? Oh, no she said. Girls, grab a jacket and get to the woods! Stay together and keep your wands close! Fear flooded me as I pulled a jacket over my sweatshirt. Dora jumped down from the bunk above mine and grabbed my arm. She pulled me out of the tent and into the campsite. Dora, whats I dont know, but it must be serious. Come on, we need to get to the woods. We began to run through the campsite, and I realized what was wrongmany tents were burning and being blasted out of the way as four people were hovering in the air above a group of hooded figures. The floating people seemed to be twisting into abnormal shapes by the people in hoods. Then the most terrifying sight of all was blasted into the air: the outline of a bright green skull with a serpent as a tongue. Dora, what in Merlins name is that? I asked, terrified. Ill explain in a minute, she said quickly, gasping for breath. For nowthe woods She continued to dash towards the woods; I followed, striving to keep up. We reached the edge of the forest, a mass of tall trees and murky blackness. I felt myself being yanked by the arm into it. Ow! Doras voice cried out. I felt her weight pulling me to the ground. A second later I had landed on top of her. Sorry, I tripped over a tree stump. I stood up and reached in my pocket for my wand as I heard Dora swearing about not being able to find hers.

This is stupid, I muttered, and holding my wand up I said, Lumos! The tip of my wand illuminated the space where I stood. Dora was still on the ground, feeling around for hers. I saw the stump she had tripped over, and right next to it was Theres your wand, I told her, shining my light on it. Thanks, she told me as she picked it up and lit the tip of it as well. She got to her feet. Come on, we should go a bit farther. I followed her again and began to ask the questions that had recently flooded my mind. Dora, what was going on? Who were those people and what were they doing? And what was thatthat thing in the air? Dora sat down. Here should be good she muttered to herself. Then, turning to me, she said, Listen, Lyra. That was the Dark Mark, and those people were The Dark Mark? I interrupted. I couldnt help but ask numerous questions. Whats that? She sighed and looked me in the eyes. I was shocked to see the fear in her face. The Dark Markis his mark. His markyou dont mean? Yes. And it hasnt been seen for thirteen years. But what does it mean? Does it mean hethe Dark LordDora, were those people Death Eaters? Yes. They had to be. And I think those people in the air were Mugglesthe family that owns this campsite. The Death Eaters thought theyd play a little joke and toss them into the air. She shook her head. Its awful. Butthe Dark Lord cant be returning, can he? I mean, for all we know, he could be dead. I dont think hes dead, Lyra, or else those people wouldnt be sending the sign into the air. And She looked at me in a scolding manner. Please dont call him the Dark Lord. Only Death Eaters call him that.

I looked away from her, resisting the urge to say, Well, my parents are Death Eaters. Instead a thought hit me and I said, Dora, do all the Death Eaters know when something like this happens? Even if they cant be there? They might, she said. They all have the Dark Mark on their wrists, and they can summon him if they touch it, and I think they can all feel it, but Im not sure. They burn it into their skin But I didnt catch what she said after that, because my mind drifted back to her other words: They all have the Dark Mark on their wrists Dora, I said. Yes? You said they burn this mark into their wrist? Yes. Do you thinkmy wrist hurt back at the tentdo you think that had anything to do with it? Could I feel it? I mean, surely I couldnt, because I dont have the Markbut since both of my parents do, I meanmaybedo you think? I was practically speaking my mind out loud. I pulled back my sweatshirt sleeve and examined my right wrist. There wasnt a trace of anything there. I pulled the sleeve back over it, feeling stupid. Of course I didnt have the Mark, and yet, I'd felt it Dora, why could I feel it? Lyra, I dont think you felt it. If you dont have it on your wrist, you shouldnt be able to feel it. Maybe your wrist just happened to hurt at that time, and it was a coincidence. It wasnt a coincidence! I exclaimed. I know it wasnt! I felt the Mark being touched! Okay, if you say so. I dont know, Lyraburning the Mark into the skin is surely extremely Dark Magic I know it is, and thats probably why I felt it! My parents both have the Mark, so because of that I can feel it! Like you said, its extremely Dark Magic! You may be right, she said, giving in, though I could tell she wasnt totally convinced. I guess. Hey, somethings going on over

there! Sure enough, there were voices coming through the trees beyond. A group of about twenty people screamed Stunning spells, causing Dora and me to hear a series of bangs and shouts. A familiar voice yelled out, commanding them to stop. Should we go over there? I asked Dora. She hesitated for a second before she said, Yeah. Maybe well find out whats going on. We walked to the clearing where several Ministry wizards surrounded a group of people: Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Arthur Weasley. I instantly realized that he was the one who had cried out. We were able to duck behind a cluster of trees and stay hidden from the large group, but we were still able to observe the scene. A very official-looking man stepped up and asked who had conjured the Dark Mark. Thats Barty Crouch, Dora whispered to me. Hes head of the Department of International Magical Cooperation at the Ministry! Harry and Ron began to protest, claiming they hadnt sent up the Mark, but Mr. Crouch wasnt convinced. When asked where the Mark had come from, Hermione pointed to the exact spot where we were hiding. Dora, theyll blame us! I whispered as quietly as possible. Come on, lets leave she said, slowly backing out of the trees. I followed her but tripped over something, fell backwards, and landed with a crash. Over there! I heard Mr. Crouch say, and he began to stride toward the spot. Lets go! Dora whispered urgently, but I was busy staring at the thing Id fallen over. Something was at my feet, something small, limp, and unconscious, wearing a filthy tea towel. Is that a house-elf? I whispered. I couldnt be sure. I had never actually seen one before. Andromeda refused to have one at home because she was against house-elf enslavement. Yes. Now, lets go! Dora hissed, growing more impatient. I backed away from the elf body slowly so I wouldnt make any sound.

I was too slow. A man appeared where we were and exclaimed, Yes! We got them! Theres someone here! I began to run, but Dora said, No! Who is it? Mr. Crouch asked. These two, said the man. They were in the trees! Hang on He looked closer at Dora and said, Youre Nymphadora Tonks, arent you? From the Auror office? Yes, Dora replied. And this is my sister. We were just hiding in the woods when we saw the Mark outside. You have been discovered at the scene of the crime! Mr. Crouch said. Which of you did it? Barty, Mr. Weasley said, Nymphadora is an Auror. Do you really think she would have conjured the Mark? She could be a spy for all we know! he said. I wouldnt doubt it after tonights events! Maybe shes using Polyjuice Potion! Does anybody have some Veritaserum? Wait! Dora said. Watch this. She screwed up her eyes and turned her hair brown. See? Im a Metamorphmagus. If I was using Polyjuice Potion, I couldnt have changed my appearance! Shes right, the other guy admitted. We know she didnt do it, but what about the other one? Amos, do you really think she could have conjured the Mark right under her sisters nose? Mr. Weasley asked. Im sure the person who sent it has already Disapparated. We probably dont have a chance of catching them now. The other guy, Amos, sighed and stepped back, but Mr. Crouch walked up to me with his wand pointed at my throat and said, You! What? I asked as I swallowed nervously. I could guess what he was about to say. You! Youreyou lookyoure I was right, of course. But before I could say anything, Mr. Crouch said blurted, The Lestranges! Look at her! Her eyes! Her hair! Theyre my aunt and uncle! I said angrily, fighting the urge to stomp my foot and storm off, or else hit Mr. Crouch with a nice

Stunning spell. Of course I look like them; theyre my relatives! That doesnt mean I conjured the Mark! She has a fair point, the guy called Amos said. The Lestranges dont have children, do they? No, this is the Tonks daughter, Barty. Mr. Crouch still looked at me with his wand raised, then lowered it slowly but continued to stare into my eyes with a slight glare. Then I saw his glance shift and he stepped over to the spot where Id tripped a minute ago, the spot where the unconscious house-elf lay. He went distraught; I didnt know why. But Dora answered my unasked question. Thats his elf, she whispered into my ear as Mr. Diggory and Mr. Crouch discussed this situation, which was apparently more serious than I realized. We should get back, Dora said quietly. Theres no point in hanging around any longer. She turned around and tramped back toward the campsite. I followed reluctantly. I was desperate to find out who had sent up that terrible green skull-and-serpent design. Dora, cant we go back and find out who did it? No. Trust me, they wont find out. That poor elf will probably be blamed for someone elses crimes. Arthur Weasley was probably rightIm sure the person who sent it into the air is long gone by now. So you think theyre wasting their time with that house-elf? Yes. Come on, lets pick up the pace. Mum and Dad will want to know what happened. We arrived back at the tent. I climbed into bed again, but although it was late, I knew I wouldnt be able to sleep for some time. The pain in my wrist, the Mark, and the Death Eaters had shaken me. Everything was so strange. I had imagined Death Eaters but had never actually seen them. I knew their crimes were horrible, but I never knew that their actions or even their symbols could cause so much pandemoniuminside me. I knew everyone else in the tent was asleep, so I decided to do something. I grabbed my bag off the floor and opened it. I pulled out a framed photograph that I had owned forever and always kept with me. Lighting my wand tip, I shined it on the picture. Two people stared back at me. Neither were smiling nor frowningjust looking out of the frame and moving slightly. One was a man, tall with brown hair and brown eyes, just like me. The other was a woman with shiny black hair and heavily-lidded eyes. She was beautiful. It

was hard to imagine these two ever becoming Death Eaters. I compared myself to them. My eyes were the exact same brown color as Bellatrixs. My hair was much lighter than hers but a little darker than Rodolphuss (though not by much). I looked at their wrists to see if I could spot the Mark, but they were concealed by their robe sleeves. I sat back on my bed and sighed. Who was I? Id never been able to answer that question. I didnt agree with the Death Eaters ways, but part of me wanted to believe what they did was right. I knew, deep down, that I only felt this way because of my parents. I never really wanted to try the Dark Arts, but curiosity played its part. A piece of me thought that experimenting with them would bring me closer to my parents, or at least help me understand them better. I heard Dora stir from above me. She climbed down from her bunk so I hastily whispered, Nox, causing my wand tip to go out. I stuffed the photo under my pillow and pretended to sleep until Doras wand illuminated my face. Hey, I was sleeping! I said against her bright light that was threatening to blind me. No, you werent. I saw your wandlight. I sighed. Fine. But why are you up? Im thirsty, she muttered. Whats that? She pointed to my pillow. Nothing, I said. I pulled the covers over the spot where the photo stuck out. Theres nothing there. Dora pulled back the covers and picked up the photograph. She examined it with no apparent interest and handed it back to me. Listen, I know the Mark has you all shook up, but you really need to try to get some sleep. I know this is hard for you, she added quickly as I opened my mouth to argue. Maybe tomorrow the Ministry will know more. Her doubtful tone didnt reassure me. Anyway, try to get some rest. I sighed and pulled the covers back again. I closed my eyes, still thinking about the Mark and my parents, but finally fatigue overtook me and I fell asleep. The last thing I remembered before drifting off was the serpent-and-skull mark blazing a fiery emerald green inside my head. Back to index

Chapter 3- School Shopping by Lyra Lestrange Author's Notes: Sorry the update took longer than usual. I really needed to fix chapter three and was waiting until I had the time to do it. JK Rowling still owns Harry Potter. ~Chapter 3- School Shopping~ The news of the Mark being seen at the World Cup was all over the Daily Prophet. People were speculating about it, asking questions like, What if hes not dead? What if he returns? Though people were frightened, life returned to normal, and before I knew it I was in Diagon Alley with Ted, Andromeda, and Dora. It was time to buy my new supplies for the coming year. After going to Gringotts for more wizard gold, I stood outside the bank with my family. Andromeda announced that she would go with Ted to refill my potion making kit at the Apothecary if Dora would take me to Madam Malkins for new robes, so our group split up and I followed Dora to the robe shop. What do you need today? Madam Malkin politely asked us upon our arrival. School robes? Yes, I replied. Okay. Stand right over here and Ill measure you. She led me to the front of a long, tall mirror where a bewitched tape measure began to take my measurements. Dora stood behind me, messing with her hair again. Once she decided on the length, she had trouble choosing a color. Every few seconds it changed from bright blue to hot pink to neon green. Finally she settled on a brilliant orange tone. Cant you just choose something simple? I demanded as the tape measure measured my arm. Like brown or blonde? What fun would that be? she asked playfully, twirling a strand around her finger. No, I think this is good. Im finished. Ill get your robes, Madam Malkin said as the tape measure flew into her hand. She went to a rack and began pulling black school robes from it. Why do we have to wear black at Hogwarts? I whined. Its so plain. I wish we could wear purple or something else.

I always wanted hot pink, but that didnt happen, Dora said. Anyway, Im going to look at Muggle clothes over there. I could use a few more t-shirts. Yeah right, I thought as she advanced to the t-shirt rack. Dora probably had more brightly colored Muggle tees than any other witch in our world. Here you are, Madam Malkin said, handing me six neatly folded pairs of black robes. Thanks, I told her. I went up to the counter to pay. Dora came over holding about ten vibrant t-shirts and a few pairs of jeans to buy, and as soon as I took out several Galleons to buy my robes, she said, Wait! It says on your list that you need dress robes. Dress robes? I asked. What for? Doesnt say. Ill help you pick one out. I saw them in the back. As we went to the very back of the store, I still wondered why I needed something fancy to wear. I didnt know if that was a good or bad thing. Even if the black robes were boring, they allowed me to blend in with the crowd of Hogwarts students. Could I find dress robes that allowed me to do that? Dora, do you know about this? Know about what? The dress robes. Is there something going on at Hogwarts this year? I thought you might know since you work for the Ministry. Well ... She seemed to be fighting the urge to tell me something, something that was making her excited. Yeah, I do know, but I wont tell you. Itll spoil the surprise. She bit her tongueliterally. I started looking at the robes. They were all really long and fancy and beautiful. They came in every color and design. If I was anyone but myself, maybe I wouldve enjoyed this. Instead I felt nervous, which was stupid. Theyre just robes, I told myself. Just pick a simple one. What about this? Dora questioned. She held up a bright green dress with silver rhinestones that was the exact same shade of green her hair had been earlier. I sighed. That was exactly what I was trying to avoid.

No! I cant wear that and you know it. I have to pretend I dont exist, remember? No, you dont. Lyra doesnt exist. Lindsey can go around the school in a bright green dress if she wants. No, Dora. I just dont like it. I gave her an excuse. After all, only someone like me could make school shopping so complicated. Only Dora would make it even worse. Then try this, Dora said, thrusting a white dress at me. It resembled a wedding dress. If youre going to be a chameleon, go with white. Im not getting married, Dora. That dress looks like a wedding dress; its too fancy. I know Im being picky, but I want the right one. I understand. How about this one? The color might fit the occasion. Dark green? I asked. She was close to giving away the event. At that moment I decided I wanted to know what was happening at school this yearit would help me decide if I should even waste my money on fancy robes. Whats that have to do with the occasion? Never mind! I dont want to spoil it. Okay, hows this one? She was holding a light pink dress with silver trim. It had spaghetti straps and a really long skirt decorated with silver rhinestones. I didnt pay attention to it. Instead I said, Dora, please tell me! No. Please? No! Fine, then. She always had to be so difficult! Ill just take that one, then. I didnt care anymore. Any color or style worked. When I got to school, I would mail the dress back to Madam Malkins and Dora would never know. Okay, well buy this one. Now you need shoes. Several minutes later we were at the counter purchasing my new dress and heels (and the jewelry that Dora insisted on buying because it completed the look). You know I still have to buy my school books and parchment and new quills, I said. I dont think I should overspend on jewelry.

You have plenty money for your other supplies as well as a whole Gringotts vault full. No, I dont. Im not allowed into my Gringotts vault. I dont have She stepped on my toes really hard to stop me from saying anything that might blow my cover, even though she was the one to bring up the Gringotts vault in the first place. I knew the Lestranges had a heavily guarded vault deep underground in the bank, but I didnt have the key for it, of course. I was just using the Tonks family vault until I got my own. Lets go to Flourish and Blotts, Dora said. We need to get your books. After buying my spellbooks we bought parchment and ink at the supply store, but of course we lost time because Dora accidentally smashed a whole shelf of color-changing ink. After repairing them and apologizing over and over, we departed and headed down the street again. I think thats all we need, Dora said. Mum and Dad are getting your other items. So where do we go now? Lets get some ice cream. Florean Fortescues ice cream parlor was just ahead, so we went inside and ordered triple-scoop cones (mine was Chocolate Frog flavored and Doras was some weird mixture of Pumpkin Pasties, Best Blowing Gum, and plain vanilla). We licked them as we sat under the umbrella tables outside the parlor where Dora examined her new shirts and I flipped through the pages of The Standard Book of Spells, Grade 4. So, what do you think of this one? she asked me. I looked up from the paragraph I was reading and stared at the blinding bubble gum pink t-shirt she was holding. It said in purple letters The Weird Sisters. More Weird Sisters shirts, I see, I said with indifference as I shrugged and returned to my book. Well, its definitely you. How many do you have now? Lost track. Twenty or so, I think. Some were bought at concerts. I nodded just as a new, unfamiliar voice said, I wouldnt wear that one if I were you. The pink might clash with your hair. I looked up

to see a guy about Doras age staring right at her. She didnt look happy to see him, whoever he was. And what are you doing here, Harper? she demanded. Making a deposit at Gringotts. Im earning so much now, said the man called Harper. Great. Tell someone who cares, she said, looking away from him and taking another lick of ice cream. I see you havent changed much, Dory. Youre still that strange Metamorphmagus who always stood out from the crowd with your stupid hair and colorful robes. Dora jumped out of her seat and faced him, ice cream in one hand and wand in the other. She pointed her wand at his throat and said, Shut up or Ill hex you! Whoa, no need to get confrontational! I just wanted to say hi! Harper said. I mean, I havent seen you since we graduated Hogwarts! Yeah, right. Now listen, I have to finish school shopping with my sister, so if youll just leave us alone Aw, is this your sissy? Shes so cute, he said, turning to me. Are you starting Hogwarts this year? He used a baby voice when he talked to me. Try fourth year, I said as I snapped my book shut. And I know some good spells. Professor Lupin taught us some handy ones last year. Remus Lupin? Harper asked. He actually managed to find a job, did he? Met him once. Strange guy. Well, he was a good Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, I said, glaring at him with my arms crossed. He taught us about things like I stopped speaking as he gasped. You ... he said. You look ... I smacked myself in the head with great frustration. I knew what he was thinking. I wanted to scream at him like I wanted to scream at everyone else for gasping and flinching when they looked at me, because I wasnt Bellatrix, no matter how much I looked like her (especially when I was glaring). Every time someone did that, I

began to get a headache. Didnt they realize I was an individual? Why dont you just go? Dora said. Go on, go play with the gold coins in your Gringotts vault. Show off your earnings to everybody. Thats what you always did in school. He laughed. Wow. Becoming an Auror made you feel all tough, did it, Dory? You think you can do anything, dont you? But I know better. If you were a really good Auror, you would have captured those Death Eaters at the World Cup, but youre just the same weird little BAM. He was on the ground in a flash of orange light. I told you Id hex you! Dora said. Now go! Nymphadora! Andromedas scolding voice said. What are you doing? Er ... Ow! Im dying! Harper said as he grabbed his face. Im dying! Good for you, I muttered to myself. Thats what you get. We should go, Andromeda said. Come on, Lindsey. You have all your stuff, right? Yes, I said as I climbed down from my seat and stuffed the last bit of ice cream cone into my mouth. Lets go, Nymphadora. Awww, still living with Mummy and Daddy, Dory? Harper mocked. Or should I say Nymphadora? Dont Andromeda began, holding Doras robes as she pointed her wand at him again, but I was quicker. I aimed my wand at his face, shouted, Furnunculus! and his face began to grow boils. The spell was partially for Dora but mostly for me. Thats what he got for comparing me to Bellatrix Lestrange. Dora looked at the fierce looked on my face and smiled, but Andromeda yelled and said it was time to go. Fireplace, now, she said, giving me a handful of floo powder. Then she turned to Harper and began to apologize while Dora yanked my hand and pulled me through the door of Eeylops Owl Emporium. We

tossed our floo powder into the flames of the fireplace, which turned emerald green, and shouted our destination. Moments later, we were swirling through the Floo Network and landing in the living room of our house. We stood up and wiped soot from out clothes. Dora turned to me and said, Nice hex. Whered you learn that? Standard Book of Spells, Grade 4, I muttered. Anyway, who was that guy, and why was he acting so immature? Martin Harper. Hes one of my old classmates. Thinks hes got it all because he has a high-paying job. As for the immaturity, hes always been like that. His name sounds familiar, I said. Does he have a younger sibling at Hogwarts? Er ... no, Dora said, her face turning slightly pink. Im sure youve just heard of a similar name. In fact, its not really that unusual. Anyway, Mum and Dad should be back any minute, once they get him sorted out. We should take your stuff upstairs I can take it, just hand me my robes, I said. No, Ill carry them for you, she said, knocking her knee on the coffee table as she began to walk swiftly down the hall. Less work for you, you know. Youre acting strange, I said as I looked at her. Her face was getting pinker. That Harper guywhat was his problem? Nothing, okay! I rolled my eyes at the ceiling and continued to go down the hall, but stopped dead when I realized something. Dora crashed into me; my robes tumbled to the floor. You went out with him, didnt you? No! she said, her face glowing brilliantly. Yes, you did! Your seventh year! You brought him here over Christmas break! Fine, I did! But dont go telling people! He never gave it up after I broke up with him, and he only wanted me in the first place because Id turned myself into a skinny, long-haired blonde! I dumped him because he was a prat, and he obviously still is! she flared. Dont get your wand in a knot; I was just asking!

That was the truth. Even if shed been dumped by boys so many times it was impossible to keep track, being in a relationship was something Dora could do but was off-limits for me. Okay, she said, calming down. Lets go. We went upstairs to my bedroom. I reached for the doorknob just as we heard Andromeda and Ted come in from the fireplace downstairs. Well be getting punished, wont we? I asked. Er ... maybe you. Im a full grown adult; they cant punish me. Great. I didnt even start this! Besides, Dora, youre a full grown adult who still lives with her parents. Have you ever thought of getting a place of your own? I inquired as I forcefully pushed opened my bedroom door. Ive thought about it, but Im trying to save money. I walked into my room and set my stuff down. I opened the school trunk at the foot of my bed and began piling my new books and robes into it. My room was really plain. The walls were pale blue, as were the blankets on my bed, and were basically bare except for a few Gryffindor posters (which really didnt go with the blue, but I didnt care about that). I closed my trunk and sat on my bed as Andromeda came in. She stood in the doorway and gave the two of us a stony look. You two shouldnt have done that, she said. That poor boys face was covered in boils once we finally got him sorted out. He deserved it, Dora said firmly. What did he do to you? Andromeda challenged. Made fun of me. Andromeda sighed, shook her head, and left. Turning away, I walked to the front of my room and stared out the window. For several minutes, there was silence. Whats wrong, Linds? Dora asked. Everything.

Youre not going to let that idiot get to you, are you? Dora ... you dont understand. Then explain to me. You can be anyone you want, especially with your Metamorphosing powers. You can change yourself into anyone. You can show people who you are. Mewell, Im the opposite. I look so much like them (I spat the word out) that thats all I can be. Thats who you are. I felt anger boil inside me. Dont tell me that! What am I supposed to say? You are the Lestranges daughter, so just deal with it! Maybe theres a reason you were forced into this life, or maybe ... I dont know ... Youdontunderstand. Then help me to. Then I sighed. This conversation had happened many times over. I knew deep inside that I wasnt going to get anywhere by taking my frustration out on Dora. So I said, Never mind. You can leave if youd like. Well ... youre starting school in a week, so we might as well have some fun before you leave. How about a game of Exploding Snap? No. I knew she was just casually trying to get back to the way we should be, but I declined. I think Ill just rest for a bit. Dora, with a sad look on her face, shrugged and said, Thats fine. When she was out of the room, I stretched out on my bed with my arms crossed and closed my eyes. I wasnt tired, but for some reason a nap sounded like a good idea. Everything became dark as I eased into sleep ... A six-year-old girl sat on a couch next to a woman. The look of confusion on her face was obvious. Something was nagging at the back of her mind, puzzling her. Andromeda, spoke the girl, may I ask you a question? Go ahead, said Andromeda, though shed obviously read the look on the girls face and knew the worst was coming.

Why does Dora call you Mum, but you tell me to call you Andromeda? And she calls Ted Dad. Why cant I? You could if you wanted to ... But you never told me that. Why are you so curious all of a sudden? Because today, when you sent me to be watched by Mrs. Peachtree next door, all the other kids she was watching there said mum and dad. I think Im the only one who doesnt say that. Well ... Theres more. I talked to a girl there, and she said her name was Helen. I told her mine was Lindsey but I had a different name, Lyra. Then I told her nobody called me Lyra because nobody could know that was my real name. I didnt mean to tell her! Andromeda was now staring into space. Her eyes were glazed as she focused on a distant thought. Obviously her worst fear had been confirmed. Andromeda, Im really confused! cried the girl. Andromeda blinked; her eyes lost the look. Pulling the girl close to her, she ran her fingers through her straight brown hair and said with a sigh, Lindsey, I think its time for you to know the truth. What truth? Did you lie? You told me never to lie! I know. But this is different. Then tell me! The girl looked scared, confused, upset, and desperate all at once. This isnt easy for me to say ... but Lindsey ... your real name is Lyra, but your last name isnt Tonks. And Ted and I ... She paused, trying to put her thoughts into the right sentence. Ted and I are your aunt and uncle. What does that mean? It means were not your parents. Youre not? the girl said tearfully. By now she looked terrified at

the shocking new truth. Then who are my parents? Bellatrix and Rodolphus Lestrange ... said Andromeda weakly. However, the girl still looked confused. The names of two terrifying Death Eaters meant nothing to her. She had something else on her mind. In almost a whisper she asked, What happened to them? They didnt die, did they? Her lower lip trembled nervously. No, they didnt die. Theyre still alive! Yes So I can see them! Please take me to them, Andromeda! I cant, Lindsey. Why not? Her temporary excitement had changed back to the tearful expression. They ... are ... in Azkaban. Once again, Andromedas words meant nothing. Whats that? Prison. Prison! What did they do? Did they kill someone? Now real tears were shining on her pale face. No, they didnt. Then what did they do? Tell me! I think this is enough for now. Please! Time for bed, Lindsey! Andromeda! Bed! The girl broke away from Andromedas arms and said, One more question.

Lindsey, I think this is enough Whats my last name? Andromeda relaxed her tense face, and, closing her eyes, calmly said, Lestrange. So Im Lyra Lestrange, the little girl said, letting it roll off her tongue. Not Lindsey Tonks. Then she ran away, around the corner and up the stairs. The sound of sobs followed her as she left. The last thing I saw before opening my eyes was the sight of Andromedas hurt face. Then I was back in my bedroom, staring at the light blue paint on my wall. The blue blankets beneath me were the same ones Id cried into that day Andromeda had told me everything. Now I was there again, arms wrapped around my legs, head against my knees, staring out the window and watching the setting sun. I stayed like that until I heard Andromeda call me down for dinner. Back to index Chapter 4- Return to Hogwarts by Lyra Lestrange Author's Notes: I'm sorry if this chapter is boring or redundant because it's rewritten straight from the book, but I have to introduce the tournament and Mad-Eye Moody. I tried my best to cut out unnecessary information. JK Rowling owns Harry Potter. ~Chapter 4- Return to Hogwarts~ I stared at a solid brick wall. Four years ago it was difficult to imagine being able to walk through something so concrete. Even though I had grown up with a Wizarding family, I still had to get used to the amount of magic in our world that defied what Muggles had spent centuries researching and creating laws for. I glanced left and right. Kings Cross was busy with Muggles waiting for their trains. I had been standing around for minutes. Dora, Andromeda, and Ted had found the perfect moment already, and just when I was positive I would miss the train due to waiting too long, I charged. My heart beat fast - I was sure a Muggle had caught a glimpse of me. Nonetheless, I appeared on the other side of Platform 9 . It was September 1st, the day I returned to Hogwarts to begin my fourth year of magical education. Upon emerging through the brick barrier, I saw the Hogwarts Express sitting on its track, gleaming

scarlet in the pouring rain. Dora, Ted, and Andromeda were already there. "Now that I finally made it through ... " I muttered to myself. It was almost time for the train to leave. I felt slightly irritated that I couldn't have gone through that barrier quicker. Turning to face the four of them, I said, "Well, I should go. I want to get a good seat." And by good seat' I meant a compartment to myself. "Of course," Andromeda said, pulling me into a hug. "We'll see you at Christmas. Have a good time at school." "I'll try," I said with a hint of sarcasm. "Write to us," Ted said as he also hugged me. "I will." "And remember to be careful," Andromeda pleaded. There was no mistaking the desperate, worried tone in her voice. "Remember not to let anyone find out - " "Andromeda, I know," I interrupted. "I've managed to hide everything for three years - more than that, actually. This year won't be any different." I knew I was being rude, but I was completely aware that I had to keep my cover. I wasn't stupid enough to announce it to the whole world. Andromeda smiled sympathetically at me. "I know. I trust you." I approached Dora, whose rain-soaked hair was shoulder length and bright purple today. "Well, I'll see you, Linds," she said. "I'll miss you. But first, I have a gift for you. Here." She handed me a rectangular package that was poorly wrapped in white parchment, as if she had done it fast-paced and clumsily. The rain was soaking through the parchment as I hesitated, confused by the gift. Dora was growing impatient. "Open it before it gets totally drenched!" she exclaimed. "Really Linds, I know I spent about two seconds wrapping it, but what's the point in wrapping something elegantly if the paper is just going to be torn off?" I smiled, laughing inwardly at how typically Dora that was. I opened it and found a blinding hot pink journal with a corresponding quill

inside. "I have one too," Dora said, showing me an exact copy of the journal and quill, though hers was dark purple. "It's so we can communicate while we're away." "How?" I asked. "Well, if you write a message, it appears in my journal and viceversa. You can only write in it with that quill. Don't worry, it doesn't need any ink. This way we can keep in touch and tell each other what's happening. Oh, and if one of us writes a message, it will stay there until the other one reads it, so you don't have to worry about missing one." "Okay. Thanks, Dora," I said, giving her a hug. "I'll miss you. I'll miss all of you." Suddenly the train whistled. "I have to go," I said. "See you over the holidays. I love you!" I waved to everybody as I got on the train, pulling my trunk along with me. I closed the door and began to search for a compartment. That was the hard part. For one, I was late getting on the train, so there probably weren't any open places. Secondly, there wasn't really anyone I could ask to sit with, since they would all be with their friends and wouldn't want someone who wasn't part of their group sitting with them. The new first years were always an option. It wouldn't be hard to pick them out of the crowd, and they would probably allow me to sit with them. However, lucky for me I found an empty compartment. I set my trunk on the luggage rack, and sat down, half hoping somebody would come and sit with me. That was one of the things I hated most about having a secret identity: I couldn't get too close to anybody in case they found out who I was. Due to this, I didn't have any friends and often felt lonely. At least I had Dora, but she didn't go to Hogwarts with me because of our seven-year age difference. The ride to Hogwarts was long-lasting as usual. I snacked on Cauldron Cakes, Licorice Wands, and Chocolate Frogs as we rolled through hills, lakesides, and open country. At least I could be alone with my thoughts, which were mostly filled with wonder about this school year. Something told me it wasn't going to be a just a regular school year, based on the way Dora had acted over the dress robes. There seemed to be events to come, which left me highly suspicious

and almost apprehensive. Eventually I concluded that I was still shaken about the World Cup events, and had to remind myself that this was Hogwarts, and it was considered one of the safest places. When we arrived at Hogsmeade station, I left my compartment and departed the train. I was already in my school attire (I really wasn't pleased to have to change out of my Muggle clothes and into my boring black school robes). The clouds still poured down rain, but I didn't care because for I moment I was mesmerized by the sight of Hogwarts Castle, a view that never ceased to captivate me. Outside the carriages drawn by nothing were sitting beyond the gates adorned with statues of winged boars, and students began to board them. I climbed into a carriage with three other first years, feeling slightly envious of the students who were getting on with their friends. The carriages pulled us up to the castle; I got out and merged with the crowd. The oak front doors opened and students rushed in to get out of the rain, but as they went inside they all screamed. Wondering what was going on, I continued walking with the crowd and realized why people were screaming as soon as I got in: Peeves the Poltergeist was throwing water balloons at students. Someone angrily shouted the poltergeist's name at the top of her voice. I recognized Professor McGonagall, the witch who served as the Transfiguration teacher, Head of Gryffindor House, and Deputy Headmistress. She impatiently ordered us to move ahead, so we stepped though the entrance hall to the Great Hall for the Sorting and dinner. I was almost there when I felt someone bump into me. Annoyed, I turned around to see Vincent Crabbe and Gregory Goyle, two bulky Slytherins. Unfortunately for me, I was on their list of people to bully. Of course, they didn't know why they bullied me, because together they had just about as much intelligence as a flobberworm with amnesia. "What do you want?" I asked plainly. The two just stood there and gave me harsh, stony looks, but anyone could tell that underneath that was a blank mind full of stupidity. Crabbe looked at Goyle as if waiting for him to give the answer. I rolled my eyes and turned around, heading for the Hall again. But before I made it there, someone asked, "What do I want?" I stopped. I knew that voice. Of course, the only reason Crabbe and

Goyle despised me was because they were friends with Draco Malfoy, the Slytherin, highly disrespectful to any teacher or student he disliked. But there was another thing about him ... He was also my cousin, though neither of us ever publicized this. Draco and I never got along. To him I was as bad as Harry Potter, if not worse. Something I always wondered was if he would treat me differently if he knew I was really Bellatrix's daughter instead of Andromeda's, because his mother (Narcissa Malfoy) and my mother had always been close. But I highly doubted he would, considering I was a Gryffindor. Slytherins and Gryffindors just did not get along. "What is it, Malfoy?" "I see you're back, Tonks," he growled. Tonks. I hated that! It was bad enough when other people called me by my surname,' but when Draco Malfoy said it, it gave me a headache. "What do you want?" I asked again. "Nothing," he shrugged. "I just wanted to tell you that I saw you at the World Cup. You looked pretty frightened when you came out of the woods. Were the Death Eaters too scary?" As he said the last line, he used a baby voice. "Do you need your Auror sister to be your bodyguard?" I rolled my eyes again. A seventh year behind Draco impatiently told us to move as we stood there, so I continued to the Great Hall. But had he really seen me leave the woods? Yes, I had been frightened then; there was no denying it. He had harassed me like that since first year when he found out my name. Normally I just ignored him, maybe gave him a glare or rolled my eyes, and walked on. But this time I decided to mess back a bit. I turned back around as the oncoming crowd continued to file inside the Hall. "You asked me if I needed a bodyguard, Malfoy?" I said jokingly. "To be honest, I'm perfectly fine on my own. However, I see you need two bodyguards just to walk the halls of Hogwarts." I didn't generally joke around with people or mock them. But this was different; this was Draco Malfoy. "That was bad," said Malfoy. "Is that really all you can come up with?" I shrugged.

"You're blocking the entrance to the Great Hall, and personally I'd like to eat." I looked up to see another seventh year speaking. He was even bigger than Crabbe and Goyle. Upon looking left and right, I saw that he was correct. The entrance to the Hall was on either side of me along with the packed crowd. "Um ... uh ... sorry," I muttered. I turned and walked ahead. As I hurried to the Gryffindor table across the Hall, the sound of snickering trailed behind me. This was so typical. An hour hadn't even passed since I'd arrived at Hogwarts, and I was already off to a bad start. It was time to become invisible again. Confrontation was too difficult for me. I sat down at the Gryffindor table near Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, and Hermione Granger. Once I sat down I realized how truly hungry I was. One of the hardest parts about the start-of-term feast was enduring the extensive Sorting ceremony before the meal came. Professor McGonagall entered the Hall with a line of first years following her. She placed a beaten up, worn out hat on a familiar looking stool. The hat sang a song; when it was finished, McGonagall called the names of the students, and once the hat was on their head, it sorted them into the proper house. It was nothing new. Every student and teacher in here saw this every year. I admitted to myself that I was bored ... and starving. My stomach growled loudly by the time they got to the M's. I hoped nobody could hear it over the applause for the first years. At last headmaster Professor Dumbledore told us to eat. I couldn't remember ever being so grateful for the feast. The tables erupted with food. Steak, potatoes, vegetables, breads, and more filled the golden dishes in the center. I filled my plate with my favorites and poured myself some pumpkin juice. Taking a sip, I heard Nearly Headless Nick say something about trouble in the kitchens earlier (caused by - who else? - Peeves the Poltergeist). I couldn't help overhearing the talk to follow. By the time they got to the subject of house elves at working in the kitchens at Hogwarts, Hermione spilled her goblet in shock. The talk of house elves caused me to think of my bed up in Gryffindor Tower that had most likely been prepared by them, set up to be warm and comfortable. I was ready for bed; I could feel my energy draining as I took another bite of potatoes. After the pudding was served and the tables were cleaned,

Professor Dumbledore stood up to give us the usual speech. Smiling, he began to speak from his spot at the staff table. He looked the same as always with his long snow-white hair and beard and his half-moon glasses. He gave the usual announcements, then told us that the Inter-House Quidditch Cup would not take place this year. Harry gasped from across the table. Professor Dumbledore continued. "This is due to an event that will be starting in October, and continuing throughout the school year, taking up much of the teachers' time and energy - but I am sure you will all enjoy it immensely. I have great pleasure in announcing that this year at Hogwarts - " [*] But he was interrupted as thunder rumbled overhead and the doors of the Great Hall opened. Standing there was the silhouette of a man in a black traveling cloak leaning on a staff. Lightning illuminated the Hall and everyone saw him closely as he hobbled toward the staff table. He had long, gray hair, a wooden leg with a clawed foot, and a heavily scarred face. The thing that made him stand out the most was his strange, huge, electric-blue eye that swiveled in its socket. It looked completely different from his smaller, normal one. I knew who this man was: Mad-Eye Moody, retired ex-Auror. Dora had told me about him - she knew him well from the Ministry. I forgot about my fatigue as I gaped at this man. He was a legend among wizards; he had filled nearly half of Azkaban's cells. The question was: What was he doing at Hogwarts? Dumbledore answered this quickly. Apparently Mad-Eye Moody was the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, sent here to replace Professor Lupin who resigned the previous year. Little noise was made as everyone stared at this peculiar man. He seemed to care little about the unwelcoming silence and simply took a drink from the flask at his hip. Dumbledore continued his speech. It was the Triwizard Tournament. The Triwizard Tournament, the notable event that in the past took place far more often, but hadn't taken place for one hundred years. Hogwarts was going to host it! My mind wandered back to Madam Malkin's when Dora mentioned something about the occasion. Did buying dress robes have to do with the Triwizard Tournament?

From what Dora had explained to me, the tournament consisted of three tasks, three wizard schools, and three champions. "The tasks are extremely dangerous," she'd emphasized. "The schools are the largest in Europe, and the champions have to be brilliant when it comes to magical talent. I would have entered if I'd received the chance. Too bad they don't to it anymore." I knew I wouldn't be entering. If I had the talent to get in (which I knew I didn't) and by some miracle managed to win, my identity would be in a huge heap of trouble. That wasn't a problem. I wasn't seventeen yet. When Dumbledore announced that it was time to go to the dormitories, I quickly got up and dashed out of the Hall, heading for Gryffindor Tower. My bed was waiting, and I was tired beyond belief. Unfortunately, Gryffindor Tower was one of the highest in the castle, so I had to climb the Grand Staircase for seemingly endless minutes that dragged on with my tired feet. Once in the common room, I took the spiral staircase to the girl's dormitories. There I met up with two of the four fourth year Gryffindor girls, Parvati Patil and Lavender Brown. "Hi, Lindsey!" Parvati said when I arrived. Lindsey. I hated being called that. There was something about my fake name that made me scream inside every time it was said. Yet, I wasn't going to snap at Parvati; that obviously wouldn't be fair. "Have you had a good summer?" Parvati asked. "Oh ... " I snapped out of my trance. "Not bad. I went to the World Cup." "Ooh, we did too!" Lavender squealed. "It was great, wasn't it? Especially since Viktor Krum was there! Ooh, that reminds me, I need to put this up!" The two of them continued to chat about Krum, and Lavender (to my disgust) hung up a poster of him on the wall by her bed. I rolled my eyes when I was turned away from them. They were worse than Dora! I changed into my pajamas before flopping down on my four-poster bed. It was so comfortable and warm. I felt like drifting into sleep right away, but I decided to try out Dora's gift first, so I took the hot pink journal out of my trunk (which was now at the foot of my bed). I picked up the vibrant pink quill and turned it around a few times

with my fingers. It was different than any other quill I'd used before. Without bothering to dip it in ink I drew a tiny line in the notebook. It appeared in pink ink and stayed, so I wrote: Dora? Are you there? I waited. Several minutes went by and there was no response. I concluded she wasn't around. Then, right underneath my pink writing appeared a single word written in dark purple ink: Yes. I picked up my quill again. Are you busy? She answered. No. How was the feast? Great. They told us about the Triwizard Tournament. I knew they would. Sounds amazing, doesn't it? Yes, but I'm too young to enter. I don't really want to, though. It sounds dangerous. It will be. You'll see. How? I don't want to spoil anything! Fine. Well, it's late. I should get to bed. I have class tomorrow. Good idea. I'll talk to you later. Good luck in school. Thanks. I'll tell you about it tomorrow. This journal was a good idea. Well, goodnight. As I tucked the quill back into its spot, I saw the conversation dissolve into the pages. I closed the journal and put it in my nightstand drawer. "Is that a Messaging Journal?" I heard someone ask curiously. It was Hermione Granger. She was the fourth girl that shared our dormitory. "Yes," I replied, though until then I didn't have any idea what it was

called. "My, uh, sister gave it to me." "I read about those. They got the idea from Muggle technology." "Did they?" I asked, not really caring as I got under the covers. "Yes. Well, goodnight." She went off to her bed as Lavender and Parvati, who were still giggling about Krum, parted and climbed into theirs. I closed my eyes, anxiously thinking about classes starting tomorrow. The sight of Mad-Eye Moody appeared in my head-the ex-Auror, coming out of retirement to teach at Hogwarts. There was something suspicious about that, or maybe something suspicious about the man himself, but I decided to wait until the next day before I judged. End Notes: [*] Quote taken from the American Version of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, page 184. Back to index Chapter 5- The Auror and the Curses by Lyra Lestrange Author's Notes: Everything in Potterverse belongs to JK Rowling! ~Chapter 5- The Auror and the Curses~ I woke up the next morning and changed into my robes. I noticed it wasn't storming anymore, but the sky was still gray. I went down to breakfast where schedules were being handed out. Start-of-term nerves affected me a bit, though I wasn't sure why. Usually I was excited to start school, but not today. Something had me shook up. The sight of a giant light blue eye spinning in a socket from a seat at the staff table gave me the answer. Something about Mad-Eye Moody was making me anxious. I looked at my schedule. Herbology was first with the Hufflepuffs, Care of Magical Creatures was second with the Slytherins, Double Divination was after lunch, and Arithmancy was last. I had a dreadful first day. I would have enjoyed it if I enjoyed squeezing repulsive pus from bubotubers, trying to feed Blast-Ended Skrewts (thus singeing the sleeves of my new robes), and listening to Professor Trelawney drone on about how Harry Potter was going to die this year. I left Divination class in a foul mood. Ron Weasley had said something inappropriate in class; therefore Professor Trelawney dumped a load of homework on us.

Disappointed at Ron for making us have to do so much, I headed to Arithmancy. The only other person I knew in there was Hermione, and she allowed me to sit next to her. Fortunately Professor Vector didn't give us any homework, so I'd have more time to work on Divination. "You should have dropped it like me," Hermione said when I told her about Ron's outburst. "I wanted to, but my aunt won't let me." "Your aunt?" "I meant my mother," I said, suddenly aware that I'd almost blown my cover. I hated doing this. I was afraid that one day everyone would find out who I was. I wished they'd just known who I was from the beginning - maybe there'd be some prejudice but they'd eventually come around. Now it was too late. I hated the stupid Ministry for doing this to me. "Well, at least - " Hermione began, but she stopped once we'd reached the foot of the Grand Staircase. "Is that a - " " - Ferret?" I finished for her. "Wait, that's Professor Moody right next to it! He's doing something ... " I stood on the tips of my toes to get a better view through the crowd clustered around the scene. A loud snapping noise filled the entrance hall, and a second later Draco Malfoy was on the ground where the ferret had been. "He Transfigured Malfoy!" I said to Hermione cheerfully. "No wonder everyone gathered around! Oh, Professor McGonagall's not happy, is she?" This was excellent. I decided that I wasn't going to be suspicious of Mad-Eye Moody anymore. He was probably just trying to entertain us. Holding in my laughter, I entered to the Great Hall for dinner and checked my schedule, wondering when I had his class. Disappointed, I realized I didn't have him until Thursday.

The next two days were uneventful. Potions class was the same as always-Professor Snape was in his usual foul mood. But I managed to get through his first class, looking forward to Defense Against the Dark Arts. Everyone was ready for Moody's class. When it was time for our first D.A.D.A. lesson of the year, everyone queued outside of Moody's classroom to get good seats. I managed

to find on in the middle of the room. Yet again, I sat by myself. We all got our books out, but as soon as Moody arrived he told us to put them away. Many were excited by this - spellbook reading was one of the most boring ways of learning, mostly because we didn't learn from them. He jumped right into the lesson and announced we were going to learn about curses, but not just any curses. He was about to demonstrate the Unforgivable Curses! It was a scary thought, but I knew learning about them was important. Then I felt a prickle of unease towards this ex-Auror again. The Unforgivable Curses were something Dora hadn't learned until her sixth year, and she told me they were rather disturbing. Yet, MadEye told us that Dumbledore had approved the curriculum, so the lesson couldn't be that bad ... could it? Moody went to his desk and picked up a jar where three spiders crawled around. He reached a scarred hand into the jar and pulled one out. Pointing his wand at it, he cast the curse. The spider did whatever Moody commanded it to do. He made it flip, tap dance, and cartwheel. I felt a shiver go down my spine. This was the Imperius Curse, the curse of complete and total control. Dora had once told me that during the first war Death Eaters used it often, causing a hassle for the Ministry. She said nobody ever knew who to trust. When Moody asked for the next curse, the forgetful Neville Longbottom's hand went up to everyone's surprise. "There's one - the Cruciatus Curse," [*] Neville said quietly. "Your name's Longbottom?" [*] Moody asked. He stared at Neville with his normal eye, but his magical one swiveled into the back of his head and I got the feeling he could see through anything. But what was that? For a split - second, his odd eye seemed to rest on me. Had I imagined that? Moody enlarged the spider with a spell before he said the incantation for the Cruciatus Curse. I braced myself for something terrible, something worse than the Imperius Curse. I made the assumption that the final curse would kill, so this one couldn't be as bad as that. There had to be something less powerful, but still terrible. Terrible was an understatement. The spider twitched, rolled around, and struggled in pain, but there was nothing it could do to fight the

intense torment it was experiencing. I knew what this was: the torturing curse. I'd heard Death Eaters had also used this one back when Voldemort was powerful. And then the weirdest thing happened. At that moment, half of me wanted to yank the wand from Moody's hand for making the helpless spider suffer so much pain. But the other half of me - I'd never felt this before - wanted to take my wand and torture the spider with as much pain as possible until it died. What was wrong with me? There was no mistaking it this time. Moody must have seen the fire in my eyes, because both of his eyes - magical and normal - were fixed upon me. His twisted mouth seemed to be shaped into a slight smile. Surely he didn't know who I was? He was an ex-Auror, so ... what if he was the one who had captured my parents? He could probably see Bellatrix's resemblance in me just like everyone else, but maybe he'd actually known them ... maybe he was the one who had captured them! Maybe they were in prison right now because of him! I was lost in thought when someone's shout brought me back to reality. It was Hermione Granger. Everyone turned to her, and I realized what she was yelling about - Neville was sitting in his seat with a troubled, horrified look on his face. Moody lifted the curse, shrank the spider, and put it back in the jar. I barely noticed that Hermione was the only one person to raise a hand this time. My mind was still on the Cruciatus Curse. Wondering what could be worse than the pain that spider experienced, I looked over to see Moody call on Hermione. The curse she told him about rang a bell in my mind. Avada Kedavra was the Killing Curse. He took out the final spider and said the incantation with his wand pointed at it. In a flash of green light, the spider was dead. It was awful - and yet, I didn't think it was as bad as the Cruciatus Curse. The Killing Curse killed, but it didn't leave marks or even cause any pain. My mind drifted away again. The Imperius ... the Cruciatus ... the Killing. They were all pure evil, dark magic. I tuned in to Moody again just enough to hear him say, " ... the use of any one of them on a fellow human being is enough to earn a life sentence in Azkaban." [**] My parents. They must have performed an Unforgivable Curse. I knew what they'd done was horrible, I just didn't know what it was. Frustration boiled inside me and I suddenly had the urge to ask

Moody about certain Death Eaters - the Lestranges - but I couldn't. I was sure he could see right through my barrier as it was, and asking about my parents would be a dead giveaway. And then - it was as if I was being possessed - my hand floated into the air. I didn't know what I was doing or what I was saying, but Moody called on me and it came out. "Er - so ... so these curses - you get sent straight to Azkaban for using them?" Moody looked annoyed. "And you'll be ... ?" "Er - Lindsey Tonks." "Miss Tonks, yes, you get sent straight to Azkaban. I believe I just covered that," he said, his voice sounding weary and irritated. "So ... the Death Eaters ... they were imprisoned for doing these ... back when ... when You-Know-Who was powerful?" "Yes, Miss ... Tonks, is it? Many of them thought it was just a joke, and they tortured and killed for the fun of it." For the fun of it. More questions: did my parents do something just for the fun of it? We were dismissed. I headed out on my own to the Great Hall for dinner though I wasn't particularly hungry. I walked right past Hermione trying to talk to Neville on the stairs - he still seemed extremely shaken by the Cruciatus Curse. The Cruciatus Curse. The words wouldn't leave my head. The pain it caused was obviously unbearable; I believed I could almost imagine feeling it. The amount of agony it could inflict on people seemed to make the painless Avada Kedavra benign. Before I reached the Great Hall, I did the strangest thing. I pulled my ivy wand from my robe pocket and ran my fingers down the length of it. I could feel an enclosed power pulsing from it, as if the magic inside was dying to burst out. The incantation was that simple. I could release that power if I wanted. Crucio. That was all it would take. End Notes: [*] Quotes taken from the American Version of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, page 214.

[**] Quote taken from the American Version of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, page 217. Back to index Chapter 6- Arrival of the Rivals by Lyra Lestrange Author's Notes: JKR still owns Potterverse. ~Chapter 6- Arrival of the Rivals~ Do a back flip. Just do it. It's not that difficult. A peculiar voice I'd never heard before was speaking to me. Do it! It will be easy! I was about to spring. I crouched down, collecting strength in my legs. I would jump and flip, with everyone watching me, and land lightly on my feet again. Or would I? Do it now! Why? I asked myself. Why do a back flip in front of this crowded classroom with everyone watching, possibly only to humiliate myself and maybe break a few bones? I had never been flexible enough to flip backwards before, and I knew if I tried, I was sure to land hard and become injured. Did I really want to feel that pain? No, I certainly didn't. Flip! No! I screamed the word in my head. I suddenly felt no urge to spring into the air at all. "No!" I said out loud. The sensation that had gripped me moments before was lifted. I was facing my classmates in the Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom, now clearly focused on my surroundings. Mad-Eye Moody was behind his desk; I was in front of it. I glanced at him cautiously and was surprised to see a twisted smile on his face. "Nice job, Miss Tonks." He looked at me proudly-too proudly in my opinion. I returned to my seat. "You see?" the professor went on. "That's how you fight the Imperius Curse. It takes true talent and strength to do that." I blushed hotly. It hadn't been that difficult; yet so far I was the only person in the class besides Harry Potter that had managed to overcome the struggle of the controlling Dark magic. "Miss Tonks, where did you find the strength to fight off the curse?" "Um ... " I stammered. I wasn't expecting interrogation. "I just didn't

see any purpose to back flip." A few chuckles sounded across the room. I blushed harder. "That's exactly right," Moody growled. "You'll laugh now, but when someone is in total control of you while Miss Tonks is able to fight it off, you won't be laughing. Class dismissed." I felt a smidge of pride; normally I wasn't recognized for being the best at anything in school. But on top of that, something else troubled me - was Moody's practice even legal? He had to have received Dumbledore's permission to cast illegal, Unforgivable curses on us. And after all, fighting it was good practice. I couldn't convince myself. There was something I wasn't catching onto, and whatever that happened to be was something I desperately wanted to find out.

Besides the Imperius Curse practice in D.A.D.A., everything else was normal. The school year had definitely begun. A sign had been posted in the entrance hall announcing that the delegations from the schools Beauxbatons and Durmstrang would be arriving at six-o-clock on October thirtieth. Lessons would end half an hour early-and thankfully I would be getting out of Potions. And after that, all anyone talked about was the tournament: who was going to enter, how younger students (the Weasley twins, for instance) would try to hoodwink the judge, and how the students from the other schools would be arriving. On the evening of arrival, the Heads of Houses were situating their students in a line outside the castle. Everyone speculated about how they would be arriving: brooms, Portkeys, Apparition ... when suddenly a giant flying object came into view. As it approached, we realized it was a huge carriage: pale blue and pulled by several giant palomino horses. The carriage landed and a boy wearing pale blue robes came out and unfolded some golden steps. Then a woman - the largest woman I'd ever seen, just about as big as Hagrid - stepped out. Everybody clapped as the woman approached Professor Dumbledore. He kissed her hand and she motioned to her students outside the carriage. There were about twelve of them, all in their late teens, shivering in the cold because of their thin, pale blue satin robes.

Madame Maxime, the woman, Headmistress of Beauxbatons, summoned her students into the castle to warm up. We watched them parade in as we heard a new sound. Turning to the lake, we realized a whirlpool had formed there, and a boat was emerging from it. Minutes later, several students were approaching us from the lake and a man called Dumbledore's name. He had to be their headmaster, Igor Karkaroff. He shook hands with Dumbledore and gazed at the castle, smiling slightly. After exchanging words, he motioned to one of his students, who came forward. Several students gasped, and I realized who it was: Viktor Krum, the Bulgarian Seeker! I thought of Dora. She would nearly die if she found out Krum was at Hogwarts. She wasn't the only one: many girls around me were going fanatically mad over him.

We all went back to the Great Hall for the feast. The Durmstrang students sat at the Slytherin table, while the miserable-looking Beauxbatons students joined the Ravenclaw table. Across from me at the Gryffindor table, Ron was going on about Krum while Hermione was snorting in disgust (I had to agree with her on that, mostly because the sight of the Seeker made me think of Lavender and Parvati's zealous - in other words, irritating to the extreme giggling over him). Filch the caretaker was bringing more chairs into the Hall. He put four extras at the staff table. Dumbledore, Madame Maxime, and Karkaroff all took their seats. There were still two empty chairs at the table. Dumbledore stood up to kindly welcome the guests. One of the Beauxbatons girls at the Ravenclaw table laughed. I noticed the girl had long silvery-blonde hair and had a familiarlooking air to her. She was stunningly gorgeous, and I wasn't surprised to see several Ravenclaw boys gaping at her like petrified Cornish pixies. Dumbledore finished speaking and the food appeared on the tables. Many of the dishes were foreign. I helped myself to my favorites as well as a few of the new foods, but only if I could identify the ingredients they contained. Trying new things was something I really wasn't accustomed to. I looked back at the silvery-blonde girl, now waltzing back to the Ravenclaw table after retrieving the bouillabaisse from our place at

the Gryffindor. I struggled to remember where I'd seen anything remotely like her. She certainly looked a lot like the veela we'd seen at the World Cup, only more human. Maybe she wasn't a total veela. I continued to eat. I was enjoying the feast so much - and was so hungry - that I barely saw two new people arrive. They sat at the staff table in the extra seats Filch had brought in. I recognized them from the World Cup: Ludo Bagman with his round, cheery face, and Barty Crouch with his austere demeanor. I shot him a quick glare. I hadn't forgiven him for his accusation in the woods when the Dark Mark had been seen, even if his accusation had been correct. Still, he could have blown my secret. "What was that?" Hermione said. I noticed she was looking at me. "What?" I asked, surprised. "What was that look you just shot Barty Crouch?" "That - um ... " My throat had gone dry. "I - er - met him at the World Cup and he didn't seem very friendly." "Oh, well I agree with you! I can't believe he accused his poor elf at the World Cup!" I breathed a silent sigh of relief. After dessert, Dumbledore introduced Bagman and Crouch, saying that they would be judges in the tournament. Then he said something about bringing in a casket, so Filch brought in an extremely old, jewel-encrusted chest. Dumbledore said the Goblet of Fire would be choosing the champions, which was exactly what was in that chest: after Dumbledore tapped it three times with his wand, the chest opened to reveal a wooden goblet full of blue-white flames. I stared at it in awe, mesmerized by the illuminating fire. I almost missed Dumbledore's next announcement about how the Goblet of Fire worked. Anyone old enough - as there would be an age line - would submit their name in to the Goblet, which would choose the champions the following night, Halloween night. I left the Hall drowsily. I wanted to get out my Messaging Journal to talk to Dora before I went to bed, so I hurried to the dormitories. I grabbed the pink journal and wrote to see if Dora was there. After a few minutes, she wrote a response. I thought I'd hear from you tonight.

Yes. The students from Beauxbatons and Durmstrang arrived. What about Bagman and Crouch? They came too. They're judging. I know. You're lucky. I want to see the tournament, but I'm busy at work. How's work going? So-so. I've been so busy with paperwork, but I really want to get out and actually do some real Auror work! How's school? Busy as well. Of course. Well, do you know anyone who's entering the tournament? Not yet. The Weasley twins want to, but they're too young. There's a reason they can't enter. These tasks are going to be difficult. I'm sure they are. Well, I'll talk to you later. I need to sleep. Okay. Bye. I closed the journal and put it away before going to bed. The next day was going to be interesting: the champions would be chosen, and I wanted to see who they were.

Many Gryffindors celebrated that night, but I didn't. I went to my dormitory and opened my journal, wanting to tell Dora everything that had happened, because Harry Potter had been crowned as the second Hogwarts Champion, despite being only fourteen. His name had been spewed from the Goblet of Fire like every other, even after Cedric Diggory had been recognized to represent Hogwarts. At first, I felt frustrated and couldn't help but think, of course; he had to get his fame as usual. Everything always happens to Harry Potter. But then I realized that something else could have occurred, so I wanted to spill to Dora. I asked if she was there, then waited, and when she got my response, she wrote:

So, how did it go? Who are the champions? Viktor Krum from Durmstrang - no surprise. Krum? He's there? Wow, Krum's at Hogwarts? I can't believe it! He's going to win the tournament for sure! Oh, but wait, who are the Hogwarts champions? I'm still going to support Hogwarts. Well, maybe. It depends on who it is. Whose name came from the Goblet? Hold your hippogriffs, Dora! The Beauxbatons champion is Fleur Delacour, this veela-looking girl. The image of the flawless female entered my head. She was the one who had made nearly every boy in the hall fall into a dreamy trance, but something told me she wasn't champion material. And Hogwarts? Dora was obviously growing impatient. I thought about deliberately driving her mad by not telling her, but I didn't want to be cruel ... Cedric Diggory. You'll be happy - he's a Hufflepuff. Is he better looking than Krum? Aren't there more important things than looks? Honestly, Dora, I thought the fact that he was a Hufflepuff would please you. It does. Hufflepuff could use some glory. Being overshadowed by Gryffindor and Slytherin all the time never made any of us happy. They always won the Quidditch and House Cups. And then there was Ravenclaw, the smart bunch. You know how it is for Hufflepuffs. Not really, but it that's how you feel, you won't like this part: Harry Potter's also a champion. She didn't reply for several minutes, probably trying to take in what I'd said. Finally: Harry Potter? What are you talking about? His name came out of the Goblet. I'm not lying. Even though he's underage, they're still going to let him compete. I can't believe it! He's too young; the tasks are too dangerous for him! Yeah, well ... it's not exactly surprising, is it?

What do you mean? Everything happens to Harry Potter. First year: he saved the Sorcerer's Stone. Second year: he rescued Arthur Weasley's daughter from the Chamber of Secrets. Third year: He fought off Sirius Black and a hundred dementors. This is what he gets his fourth year. This is strange. I'm sure the Ministry will discuss this tomorrow. If there are Dark wizards involved-for example, if someone put his name into the Goblet-the Auror office will be on it. Possibly. He claimed he didn't put it in himself. That's strange. Well, goodnight. Goodnight. Wait, Dora! Are you still there? Yes, I'm here. Dora, what if the Dark Arts really are involved? Does that mean there could be a Dark wizard at Hogwarts? The quill trembled slightly in my fingers. I wondered if this could be related to the uneasy chill I got these days that I'd never felt prior to this school year. When I blinked, Mad-Eye Moody's icy blue eye flashed into my head. Maybe there's not necessarily a Dark wizard at Hogwarts. There could be a Dark witch for all you know. This is no time for jokes. Since you're not helping, I'm going to close this. Goodnight, Dora. I snapped the pink journal shut and shoved it into my nightstand drawer, tossing the quill in after it. Auror or not, Dora wasn't assuaging my apprehension. Was there a chance, however miniscule, that Harry Potter was meant to be the fourth Hogwarts champion? Was there a chance that he had actually put his name into the Goblet and was worthy for this competition? Or was there a chance that someone else was behind this, lurking in the shadows, waiting for the right moment to surface? End Notes: Again, I apologize about the parts repeated from GoF, but they're supposed to show how Lyra is basically on the sidelines as an

invisible wall. This won't last forever. Back to index Chapter 7- Holiday in Hogsmeade by Lyra Lestrange Author's Notes: Sorry about the long wait again, guys. ~Chapter 7- Holiday in Hogsmeade~ It was the morning of the first Triwizard task. I was at the Gryffindor table in the Great Hall, obviously eating breakfast. Almost everyone in the Hall was talking excitedly about the task and making predictions on what it would be. I could have cared less, honestly. Instead of talking to anyone, I was reading the Daily Prophet. More specifically, I was searching the newspaper for any sign of mysterious happenings. This was one of my habits to the point it was obsessive. Ever since the previous year when Sirius Black had escaped Azkaban, I always had a feeling of dread alongside dark hopefulness that my parents would escape too. I knew they were in high-security cells, but I couldn't help but cling to the possibility that they had the skill and talent to escape. After all, Sirius Black had been my mother's cousin, so maybe she could have picked up some of his technique. But there was never anything in the Prophet. After awhile I had given up and simply skimmed it, reading the news headlines. At least, until recently. Ever since the World Cup, I had been on guard. My addiction to searching the news for even a tiny sign had returned. I folded the newspaper over and pushed it aside. Once I had read three articles that meant nothing to me (Rumored Lethifold sighting turns out to be scam,' Muggle technology becoming more popular among wizard teens,' and Chudley Cannons win first match of the season') I had no purpose to continue. Maybe I was overreacting, after all. Around me, everything seemed normal. At least, it did at the time.

It was later that night in the common room. I was busily scribbling on my Transfiguration essay, caring less about the celebration going on around me. I felt like I was hidden in a bubble, oblivious to the joyful party - and perfectly fine with it. Clearly, they were all celebrating because of Harry's triumph over the dragon. He, of course, had received the most ferocious dragon of them all, the Hungarian Horntail. He, of course, had flown on his top-model Firebolt to reach the goal of collecting the golden egg.

He, of course, had tied for first with Quidditch player Viktor Krum, who hadn't even thought of flying. And now everyone was celebrating for him in the common room. While I saw reason behind this, it was giving me a headache and I decided it was time to retire to the dormitories to finish my homework and go to bed. Once I completed my essay (being somewhat sloppy with it in my rush to finish), I pulled out my journal so I could give Dora the rundown of the task, though I knew she'd be reading about it in the Prophet the next day (I laughed as I wrote, thinking it would be better for her to hear from me - someone who had actually witnessed the task - than from one of Rita Skeeter's twisted stories). I gave her all the details: how Cedric Diggory had wound up in several tight spots with the Swedish Short-Snout and had managed to burn his face (maybe Hufflepuff wouldn't be receiving that glory of winning the Triwizard cup); how Fleur Delacour had fought a Common Welsh Green by trying to daze it with a charm, which worked until her skirt caught fire (her not-so-stunningly beautiful performance made me think she wasn't meant for this competition once again); and how Viktor Krum had cast a spell at his Chinese Fireball and hit it in the eye, causing the dragon to stomp around in pain and consequently squashing several of the real eggs it guarded (maybe he was an International Quidditch Player, but the fact that he hadn't even thought of flying told a lot). And of course I told her about Harry's performance and how the judges had scored the champions. After a long two hours of explanations, which involved me writing so furiously I'd torn the paper and cramped my wrist, I closed the journal and went to bed. My wrist was hurting again, but not like it had at the before. I knew it hurt now from writing so much. It was a much different pain, one that I'd felt before. But since the World Cup, I'd felt a few twitches in my wrist, and they were a much different pain. I carefully lifted the Messaging Journal again and wrote Dora a quick note. If you're still there, I just want you to know that my wrist is hurting again. There haven't been any more signs, have there? Is everything all right at the Ministry? I know I'm being paranoid about this, but I can't get any answers. Do you think the Death Eaters could be up to something? However, when I woke up in the morning, the only thing written beneath my message was this:

Forget about it. You'll soon have more important things to be concerned about. Remember those dress robes we bought you?

Dora's message finally made sense after a Transfiguration lesson one day. Professor McGonagall had a message for us: the Yule Ball was approaching. That was the occasion Dora wouldn't tell me about. The Yule Ball! When the bell rang we all rushed out of class. Immediately I began to think about the ball. The obvious question was: who was I going to ask? Nerves clutched my stomach as I thought of this. Nobody would ask me; I usually appeared to be more or less a brick wall to the rest of the school. I would have to ask somebody and do it quickly before all the boys at Hogwarts were taken. But who? If I didn't ask anyone, I'd be going to the ball by myself. I would look like an idiot if I was alone. No, I wouldn't be able to go at all. Maybe I'd skip the ball and go home for Christmas. I could spend it with my family instead. Dora would kill me. If I turned down this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and wasted the money spent on my dress robes, I would never hear the end of it. Right. I'd go to the ball. I'd ask someone to go with me. I'd stay at Hogwarts for Christmas. This was something I'd never get to do again, so I had to go for it.

During the next few days, all anyone talked about was the ball. I kept thinking about who to ask. There wasn't anyone in particular that I wanted to go with. Actually, I supposed there was. But Cedric Diggory was a Hogwarts champion and an excellent Quidditch player, so he was bound to be asked by some other girl who was probably older and way prettier than me, anyway, like one of those Beauxbatons girls, so I quickly gave up on that. One day during Charms Lavender Brown excitedly announced that the Weird Sisters were supposed to be at the ball. I'd grown up listening to the Weird Sisters on the Wizarding Wireless Network (mostly hearing the music blaring from Dora's room) and wondered how Dora would take it once she found out they were playing live at Hogwarts. The castle was also being decorated with for Christmas, more elaborately than last year because of the foreign guests. Icicles and

beautiful Christmas trees were everywhere, as well as the suits of armor that sang Christmas carols when you passed in the halls (unless it happened to be Peeves inhabiting the armor and making up his own rude lyrics).

One day after Potions, I saw Neville approach Hermione and ask her to the ball, saying she'd always been nice to him by helping him with his classes. But Hermione gently turned him down, saying she already had someone else. At that moment, a thought struck me. Neville probably wouldn't be able to find anyone else. I had hardly any chance now that almost everyone had a partner (well, I could ask Harry or Ron because I knew they were both looking for partners, but I knew they weren't into the dance at all and well ... I wanted to have fun and not go with someone who just wanted the night to be over). I could ask Neville to the ball and we'd both have partners. Maybe he wasn't Cedric Diggory (who, by the way, was going with Cho Chang, a pretty, popular Ravenclaw Quidditch player. I knew I didn't have a chance), but it could work. He looked pretty miserable after being rejected, anyway. I couldn't blame him. After Herbology that day, I approached Neville. I noticed he looked disappointed even though Professor Sprout had just given him top marks on potting his plant. "Hey, um ... Neville?" He turned around. "Oh, hi, Lindsey. Do you need something?" "I was just wondering if - well, I need a date for the ball and - do you think - ?" Okay, so I wasn't Dora. She could easily go up to someone and ask them out in a flirty manner (with her hair changed to their preferred color and style), but I wasn't so smooth. Neville caught on, however, and said, "Oh! You want to go to the ball with me?" rather loudly. Looking somewhat embarrassed, I said, "Er ... yeah. If you'd like that." "Sure! Yes, that would be great! See you around!" And he ran off. More like skipped off. I sighed; t least that was done. It was only for one night, and I wouldn't look stupid for not having a date. But then again, he was Neville Longbottom. Oh, Merlin. The taunts from the Draco Malfoy and his followers would never end.

It was later that evening in the common room. I sat doing my homework when Ron came in, looking more downshifted than I'd probably ever seen him. Ginny walked him in and sat him down in the corner, talking to him soothingly, but he was unresponsive. I watched, but when Ginny looked over at me, catching my staring eye, I hastily looked down at my Charms essay and tried not to blush. Yet, Ginny called me over. "Lindsey, could you come here for a second?" I got up and went over to them. "Yes?" "Do you know anyone who needs a date for the ball?" Ginny asked. "Er ... no." "Okay, then. Ron still needs someone, so I'm trying to help ... " "What happened? Is he okay? He looks ... " "He asked Fleur Delacour to the dance and she turned him down. Not surprising." "Oh ... " I said. "Well, er ... " "Do you have a date?" Ron blurted. "I, um - yes." Now I felt my face going red. Maybe asking Neville to the ball wasn't such a good move. I looked away and stood up to leave, just in case they asked who it was. I headed for the dormitory. By the time I reached the top stair, I looked down to see Ginny climbing up after me. She looked sulky. I walked down to her. "Hey, Ginny ... is something wrong?" "No. Yes. Neville told me he was going to ask me to the ball when Hermione rejected him, but he said you asked him instead. I wish he hadn't told me, because then I wouldn't have known I was this close to getting to go to the ball. I'm only in third year, so I can't go unless someone from fourth year or above asks me. Anyway, I'll see you around." "No, wait! Hey, maybe you still have a chance." "No, I don't. Even if I did, I don't have any dress robes."

"That's not a problem. Listen, Ginny. If you can find a date, we can go to Hogsmeade together to buy a dress for you." I wasn't exactly sure why I was saying this. Ever since asking Neville, I'd been filled with a previously unknown confidence. I felt the antisocial barrier around me breaking slightly when I told Ginny she could join me in Hogsmeade. "Well, that sounds okay, but it's ... not like I have the money for a dress," Ginny said awkwardly. "You could get one secondhand and ... decorate it, or something. My older sister taught me some spells that make clothes look betteryou can put glitter and designs on them-it might be worth a try." She shrugged. "Sure. Well, thanks." "You're welcome. You deserve a chance to go to the ball, especially since all of us will never have another chance." I was definitely feeling more confident than I ever had.

The next Hogsmeade trip was the next weekend. Ginny told me excitedly the next day that she'd successfully asked the fourth year Hufflepuff Justin Finch-Fletchley and he'd accepted. So on Sunday, everyone bundled up in their winter clothes and met in the entrance hall where Filch led us to the snow-covered grounds and around the corner to Hogsmeade village. As usual, the tiny shops and houses were covered in snow and were decorated for the coming holidays. I met up with Ginny and traipsed down the High Street to the Three Broomsticks. It felt really odd hanging out with her (or anyone for that matter) as I usually went to Hogsmeade alone. We went into the Three Broomsticks pub, ordered a butterbeer, and sat down to drink them at a small table by the window. We sat there silently, watching people stroll down the snowy street. "So, er ... " I said. "How's everything going?" "Not bad," she said, taking a sip of butterbeer. "Hey, um ... I really appreciate you helping me." "It's no problem, really," I said. "You're welcome." "So what kinds of spells did your sister teach you? How do they work?"

"I can't remember the incantations exactly," I told her. "But I have them written down somewhere. She learned them from some of her friends at the Auror office." "Wasn't your sister with you at the World Cup?" Ginny asked. "Isn't she one of those shape-shifting people? I can't remember what they're called." "A Metamorphmagus. Yes, she's one. I wish I could be too." "Me too. Think about it: you wouldn't have to worry about brushing your hair or getting zits. And if you had a scar, you could hide it," Ginny said. "Yes. And if you looked like someone and people always accused you for it, you could change your appearance so you wouldn't look like them," I said somewhat aggressively. "What are you talking about?" She was puzzled. "Er ... nothing," I said quickly. "You know, just ... some people look a lot like their parents." "Is that a bad thing?" Ginny asked. "I guess I could understand that if I didn't like my parents for one reason or another. Do you dislike your parents?" "No!" I said quickly. "It's not that. I - just forget everything I said. I wasn't thinking." I'd almost done it again. This is why I tried to stay away from people. Sure, I wanted friends, but I couldn't get too close. This would be my last Hogsmeade trip with anybody besides myself. Ginny gave me a slightly confused look, but shrugged and drank the last of her butterbeer. I finished mine within the next minute and we decided to leave the crowded pub. It was freezing outside, so we hurried to the secondhand clothing store as quick as we could. Inside we were greeted by the storekeeper and he led us to the dress robe section. We began to search. Most of the robes were horrible: they were extremely old and lacy and some even had mold and stains. "This is so ugly," Ginny said, holding up a dark blue dress with a lacy collar covered in blotchy marks. "Maybe this was a bad idea. There's nothing here."

"We can keep searching," I said. "Check down there. Those look more modern and less ... traditional." "Traditional, ha!" Ginny said. "Have you seen my brother's robes? My mum bought Ron the most atrocious robes ever: they're maroon and have lace and mold like all of these. I can't wait to see him at the ball; it'll be a good laugh." "Speaking of Ron, does he have a date yet?" "Who knows?" Ginny said. "He probably doesn't have a chance anymore; everyone's practically taken. Last time I heard him talking, he was actually thinking about asking Moaning Myrtle." I laughed. "You mean ghost in the bathroom on the second floor? How will he dance with a ghost?" She shrugged. "He won't dance, he's Ron, remember?" "Right. Oh, hey!" I pulled out a dress from the rack. It was as plain as could be - offwhite in color and straight up and down - but it wasn't moldy or stained. "We could decorate this, Ginny," I said. "Hmmm. That could work." She checked the price tag. "Okay. I'll buy this one." She purchased her robes and we left the store. After shopping at Honeydukes for awhile (I needed to buy some Christmas presents for my family, and I was dying for more sugar quills), we left with the rest of the students. Later that night I gave Ginny the list of incantations from Dora. When I left for bed, I couldn't help but think, was that what having a friend was like? End Notes: To my wonderful reviewers: I know this part of the story has been pretty slow-moving. The whole story is divided into four parts, and I promise you part two gets a lot more interesting, and parts three and four even more so. But in order to get them on the site, I need to post part one, so I'm wondering if there's anything you readers would like to see in part one about Lyra. Would you like to see flashbacks from her past, or something else from her point of view? What do you want to know about her? I'd like to make part one her introduction so that the other three parts are easy to follow from her

perspective. Any suggestions are helpful! If you have an idea, just type it in the review box. Thank you--you guys are great! Back to index Chapter 8- Big Night by Lyra Lestrange Author's Notes: Yes, it's finally here...the Yule Ball chapter! Personally my favorite from part one, I'd have to say. ~Chapter 8- Big Night~ Christmas Day arrived quickly. I woke up to find presents by my bed. As usual, the pile was rather small. I had a large box of homemade sweets from Ted and Andromeda, a box with some Muggle sweaters and jackets from Dora, and to my surprise, a small box of Chocolate Frogs from Ginny. Almost everyone fourth year and up had stayed for the holidays, as well as some younger students who had older dates, so the school was very crowded. At lunch, we ate a feast of turkeys and Christmas desserts and afterwards many students decided to play in the snow on the grounds, but I went back to the dormitory to get ready for the ball, even if it was several hours early. I didn't know how much time I'd need. I was the only one up there at the time. I went to the changing room and put on my dress before taking out my wand to get rid of all the wrinkles. I brushed my hair straight down and used a spell Dora had taught me to get rid of any stray frizzy pieces before putting it in a headband, as Dora had sent me a pink one in her box of Christmas gifts. I put on the matching heels as well as the necklaces, bracelets, and earrings that Dora had forced me buy. For once, I looked different in my pink dress with my straight brown hair slightly wavy as it flowed past my shoulders. I wasn't that plain girl who blended in well, wearing the same robes as everybody else. For once, I felt like I would stand out from the crowd. And oddly enough, for once I thought the fact of being noticed wouldn't bother me much. That confidence streak hadn't quite terminated; I'd help Ginny find a dress and I felt perfectly composed about going to this inter-school ball with Neville Longbottom. I think some of Dora had rubbed off on me. For once, I didn't feel like myself, I felt like a normal person. I felt pretty, even. Or at least decent-looking. Once I was finished staring at my transformed self in the mirror, I went back to my bed and pulled out my journal. I wanted to talk to Dora. I had plenty of time.

I opened my nightstand drawer and saw the journal shaking madly. I opened it; Dora had already written to me today. I guess it vibrated when you had a message waiting. Written in the usual purple ink was: So, today's the big day. I answered yes' and got a response quickly. Who are you going with? Of course. I knew that would be the first question. Someone. Come on, Lyra. Tell me. His name's Neville. I didn't tell his last name. Fine, be elusive. But later tonight you have to tell me every detail. The ball ends at midnight; I won't have time to tell you. Tomorrow morning, then. I want to know everything. I heard the Weird Sisters are going to be there. I'm so jealous of you. Why? You've been to about ten of their concerts. I know, but you get to see them for free. All right. Well, I should continue getting ready. I still have a lot to do. You're already getting ready? The ball doesn't start until eight! I know, but I want to be prepared! Smart thinking! I've taught you well. Well, I'll talk to you later. I miss you. I thought we'd get to see you over the break, but obviously you wanted to stay for the ball. Yes. I miss you too. See you. I closed my journal and put it away. Before I set it down, however, I picked up the picture frame that I kept underneath it. In it was a picture of me, Dora, Ted, and Andromeda (taken about a year ago), but that was just a cover. I opened the frame and took it out. Underneath was the picture of my parents.

I thought of them, locked away in prison. What would they think if they saw me now? I began to feel depressed again, thinking of how I'd never get to see them, how they'd never get to see me, how I'd be stuck with a fake identity for the rest of my life. I stared at the thirteen-year-old photograph for a long time when suddenly I heard footsteps. I crammed the pictures back into the frame and threw it back into my nightstand drawer as quickly as I could. Lavender and Parvati appeared, laughing and giggling as usual. "Hi, Lindsey!" Lavender said. "We're coming to get ready for the ball! I see you've already changed. You look great." "What was that you just shoved in there?" Parvati asked. "Nothing!" I said quickly. "Just...just a picture." I reluctantly showed them the picture of Dora and me with my parents.' "Oh. I get it: you're homesick. Not a surprise. Most people would see their families this time of year." "Yeah," I said quickly. Saved! I jumped up and grabbed my makeup from my trunk. "I'm going to finish getting ready." I finished extremely early, so I hung around the dorm for a bit. Lavender, Parvati, and Hermione (who came up shortly after the other two) took their time and looked great by the time they'd finished. Parvati was in shocking pink dress robes with her dark hair braided with gold. Lavender was wearing robes of...well, lavender, and Hermione looked fantastic in her periwinkle blue robes with her normally bushy brown hair sleek and up in a knot. "You all look great," I said. "Thanks!" Hermione replied, smiling widely. A perfect smile. "I hope Seamus thinks so!" Lavender said excitedly. "This will be so fun! I never thought Hogwarts would have a ball!" "So, who are you all going will?" Parvati asked. "Seamus," Lavender said, and began to giggle, of course. It was rather annoying. "How about you, Lindsey?" "Er..." I said. Should I tell them? Well, everyone would see at the ball

tonight, anyway... "Neville. Neville Longbottom." My face glowed red. "Oh," Parvati said, and left it at that. At least she didn't giggle. "What about you, Hermione?" "No, you first!" Hermione said, actually giggling and even blushing somewhat, something that was so unlike her. "Fine. Harry Potter," Parvati said, and she flopped back onto her bed and giggled as well. "He asked me, so I accepted...and his friend Ron needed someone, so I set him up with my twin from Ravenclaw. Now, who are you going with, Hermione?" "Okay, fine...well, he asked me in the library the other day, and so, you know, I figured I might as well..." "Who is it?" Lavender demanded. Hermione took a deep breath. "Viktor Krum." Parvati jumped off her bed, looking stunned. Lavender actually screamed. I rolled my eyes but she didn't see. "Krum?" she asked, dumbfounded. "Yes." "Wow," Lavender said. "That's amazing. Krum! He's a famous international Quidditch player! I figured he'd probably ask someone..." She trailed away, a smart move on her part. "Someone better?" Hermione snapped. "Someone prettier, like those pathetic Beauxbatons girls?" "No!" Lavender exclaimed quickly. "Someone older, I meant!" Hermione rolled her eyes and left the dorm, passing Ginny coming up the spiral stairs. She stepped into our dormitory wearing the robes we had bought together, except they were trimmed in silver and had glitter all over. She'd also tied a large, silver ribbon around the waist. "Ginny, you look great!" I said. "Thanks. Those spells worked really well. I'm excited; I can't believe I'm actually going to the ball!" "Hey," Parvati said, "it's about to start. We should head down."

Lavender and Parvati went first. Ginny and I followed. Once we reached the common room, Neville walked over to me. He was wearing black dress robes and had done something with his hair that made it look neater. "Hi, Lindsey. You look really nice," he said quietly, but it was polite. "Thanks. Are you ready?" I asked. "Yes." "I'll see you later," Ginny said. "I told Justin I'd meet him by the dungeon entrance." "All right. See you later, then," I replied. Turning to Neville, I said, "Shall we go?" We walked to the entrance hall silently and rather awkwardly. I saw many couples as we passed. To my displeasure, I caught sight of the Slytherins. There was Theodore Nott with Millicent Bulstrode; there was Draco Malfoy wearing black velvet, high-collared robes (the high-class, arrogant pig) walking with Pansy Parkinson. Behind him stood Crabbe and Goyle, both wearing green robes. Neither of them had a date. That made me feel good to the point I almost laughed. At least I wasn't the most pathetic person in the school! When we reached the entrance hall, I saw Fleur Delacour with Roger Davies, Ravenclaw Quidditch captain. Padma Patil was standing with an extremely miserable-looking Ron Weasley who was in appalling maroon robes with frayed lace. Ginny was right: they were horrible. If only he'd gone to Hogsmeade with us that day, I thought to myself. I also saw Cedric Diggory and Cho Chang. I hastily looked away and entered the Great Hall with Neville, which was brilliantly decorated for the ball. Dazzling frost and garlands of ivy and mistletoe beautified the walls. I'd never seen it decorated so elaborately. The usual house tables had been replaced with about a hundred smaller ones, each seating twelve people or so. Each table also had sparkling golden plates and goblets as well as menus. Neville and I took a seat at an empty one and sat down to watch the opening. The champions and their dates had to dance first as an opening. They paraded into the Hall in a line: first came Fleur and Roger, then Cedric and Cho, followed by Krum and Hermione, and finally Harry

and Parvati. Everyone took their seats and Dumbledore showed us how to get our food. The meal was awkward at first. I had no idea what to say to Neville. But he broke the ice by saying something about the decorations. "Yes, they're nice, aren't they?" I asked. "Yeah. Better than they usually are." I took a quick, small bite of food, then said, "So, Neville...er...how's everything going?" It sounded so dull. However, he perked up a bit. "Not bad. I've been reading this book Professor Moody lent me. It's about water plants. It's really interesting." "Herbology is your favorite subject, isn't it?" I asked. "Yes. It's the only thing I'm good at," he said quietly. "What's your favorite subject?" That was easy: Astronomy had always been my favorite and best. I just found studying the night sky interesting, especially constellations. This was mainly because many people in my family were named after stars or constellations. I knew that Bellatrix was a star, Andromeda was a constellation and a galaxy, and my name, for one (Lyra, of course, not Lindsey) was the constellation for the lyre. I wasn't sure what that was supposed to mean about me, but I found it interesting nonetheless. The Weird Sisters began to play a song, and the four champion couples danced in the middle. When they finished, the Weird Sisters began to play their usual songs. Do the Hippogriff' was the first one. Many couples went onto the floor to dance, but Neville and I stayed. I tapped my foot to the music, though. I knew this song. "Do you listen to them?" Neville asked. "Sorry, what?" "The Weird Sisters. Do you know their music?" "Yes, mainly because my sister blares their songs on her Wireless. I know almost every song by heart just from hearing it play from her room. And that's when both of our doors are closed!" He nodded his head when I thought of a question. "Do you have any siblings, Neville?"

"No," he said. I noticed he looked slightly miserable. "It would be nice, though. Then I'd have someone other than my grandmother to talk to." "You live with your grandmother?" I asked. "Yeah. My parents...well, it's a long story." "That's okay. You don't have to tell me." Of course I wanted to know why his parents couldn't take care of him, but it was obviously personal. Part of me wanted to say that I didn't live with my parents, either, and that I didn't really have an older sister. Honestly, if I didn't have to live a secret life I'd tell everyone who I was without caring. The Weird Sisters sang two more songs, This is the Night' (Dora's personal favorite) and Magic Works' (a slow song for slow-dancing). "Er...we could dance," I said kind of awkwardly. "But..." "Maybe not," Neville said, reading my face. I had to agree. I couldn't really imagine Neville and I dancing at all. Not even slow dancing. "We could take a walk on the grounds," I said. "Yeah," Neville agreed. We stood up and left the Hall, proceeding to the grounds where we couldn't hear the music anymore. We strolled down the path, which was sided by rose bushes and lit with real fairies. Statues and fountains were around each corner. Several people were out there, including couples who, er...looked kind of busy with each other. I tried to look straight ahead and walk on, pretending I hadn't seen anything. I was beginning to think coming to the grounds wasn't such a good idea-it seemed that all anybody did was snog in the bushes. We turned a corner and I heard a voice say, "Severus, I beg you to listen to me! I can feel it right now! Surely you can too?" Karkaroff. Talking to Snape. Why? "I told you not to talk to me about this," Snape said sourly, but his discomfort was obvious. "But it's becoming stronger!"

"We should go back," I whispered. "If they catch us-" "What are you two doing?" Snape asked suddenly. "Tonks, Longbottom, why aren't you in the castle?" "We're taking a walk," I said rather firmly. "Keep walking! Go on," Snape said. "Let's go back," I whispered to Neville. We turned around, but Karkaroff gasped. "Severus...it's her!" "What are you talking about?" Snape spat. "She's the girl-" "Stop talking! I have absolutely no idea what you mean!" I walked as fast as I could in my heels, which I now wished I hadn't worn. Neville kept up and we went back to the castle. "What was that all about?" he asked upon reentering. "I don't know," I said. It was the truth: I had no idea why Karkaroff had gasped. But then it hit me: could Karkaroff be a Death Eater? And then...what about Snape? He worked at Hogwarts, he worked for Dumbledore...surely not? And yet, Karkaroff had said something about it' becoming stronger. Could that be the Mark? If he had one after all? I was lost in thought when we returned to the Great Hall. I sat down at my seat again and put my face in my hands, listening to the loud music once more, though my wandered with it. If Karkaroff had the Mark and felt it becoming stronger, did that mean...? No, that was impossible... "Lindsey, are you okay?" Neville asked. I lifted my head from my hands. "Yes, I'm fine. I just...have a headache." "Is it the music? It's pretty loud," he said. "We could go outside again. It's much quieter." "No, it's not the music," I told him. He looked kind of concerned, but I ignored this and stared down at the table. My goblet of butterbeer was empty. I decided to use this

as an excuse to leave. I wasn't thirsty, but I wanted to be alone for a few minutes. "I'll be right back. I'm going to refill my goblet." My thoughts flowed freely. If only everything could be perfect in this world. I wouldn't be in this mess-the whole identity crisis-never get to know my parents-what side am I for-can't get close to anybody mess. I felt like slamming my goblet of butterbeer down in frustration. I was honestly about to do this before a Beauxbatons girl in line right behind me said, "Excusez-moi, but I would like ze butterbeer, si'l vous plat. Could you move up in ze line?" "Oh...sorry," I said. I'd been so lost in thought that I hadn't realized I'd been holding up the line. "Merci," the girl said. I went back to the table. "That took awhile," Neville said. "Sorry. Long line." "No, it was fairly short, actually," he said. "Are you sure you're all right? You keep staring off into space." "I'm fine." He sighed. "Sometimes I get the feeling that there's more to you than there appears." "You may be right," I mumbled almost inaudibly. "What?" "Uh..." My words were drowned out by laughter as Draco Malfoy approached our table with Pansy Parkinson at his side. Crabbe and Goyle were behind him like always. "You actually managed to find a date, did you, Longbottom?" he laughed. Crabbe and Goyle joined in. Neville went red. "Yeah, he did," I said. "I see your goons didn't manage to find anyone." Crabbe and Goyle stopped laughing, but Malfoy continued. "Not saying much, is it? If the only person willing to go with you was Tonks-"

"Leave him alone, Malfoy," I said. "Defending him, are you?" "Why don't you just go show off for Parkinson?" I said. "Why don't you shut your mouth?" Malfoy snapped. "But if you insist that I leave, Tonks, I will. I have better things to do than talk to outcasts like you two." He turned around to go, looking back once to say, "Don't get your hopes up, Longbottom. You just got lucky. Same to you, Tonks." Neville's face was as red as it could be. "I'm sorry," he mumbled. "Don't be, they're not worth it." "You probably deserve better." "Better, ha! Like them? Crabbe and Goyle are as brainless as can be!" The next song started, ending the loud, metallic one. It was a slow and soothing sound. "We should dance," I said. "Just for one song. We might as well; it is a ball." "I-well-all right, then," Neville said. We stood up and moved to the dance floor. I'd never danced before and was sure that Neville hadn't either, so we were equal. I didn't care if I messed up, I just wanted to make the most of the night. Honestly, if Dora found out I hadn't danced at all and just sat around drinking butterbeer and being taunted by Draco Malfoy...almost shuddered at how angry she would be. Neville stepped on my foot several times and I tripped in my heels. We were both extremely clumsy at this. "Sorry," Neville said after stepping on my toes for the fifth time. My foot slipped out of my shoe again. "I'm not good at this. Maybe we should sit down." "Don't worry. Trust me, there's no one on this earth who's clumsier than my sister, and she's and Auror!" I was in a better mood after that, hardly thinking about what Karkaroff said. But something happened that brought my mind back

to that as I sat at the table again: my wrist began to throb. It was strange; at the World Cup it had been sharp and extremely painful. Now it was just hurting slightly. I grabbed it and began to rub at it. Neville asked if I was all right again. "My wrist just hurts. It happens sometimes and I don't know why. I'm sure it's nothing, though." That was a lie. Deep down, I knew that there was something more to the pain in my wrist, and I was sure it had everything to do with the Dark Mark. "Maybe you should see Madam Pomfrey," Neville said. "No, it's fine." The Weird Sisters finished with a song I hadn't heard, one about simply having fun and enjoying life. They were right, I thought, but frustration came to me: how were you supposed to live life to the fullest when you couldn't even be yourself? The lyrics replayed in my head...well, I certainly felt I'd lived life to the fullest that night. It didn't take me long to fall asleep, and as I drifted off, I thought about how I would be telling Dora every single detail the following day. My hand felt cramped just thinking about how much I'd have to write. Oh, wait...that was my wrist. It was throbbing again. End Notes: The Weird Sisters songs are real. They're from the Goblet of Fire soundtrack. As always, reviews would be lovely! Back to index Chapter 9- Day at the Lake by Lyra Lestrange Author's Notes: Harry Potter will always belong to JK.

Oh, by the way, I forgot to tell you guys about Lyra's name. If you've read my profile, you'll see it's 'Leer-a', not 'Lie-ra.' This is because I thought it was pronounced like that when I started writing this, because my eighth grade science teacher said it like that and I didn't know it differently, but then I found out about the girl in The Golden Compass series being named 'Lie-ra' and I didn't even know it was a real name, let alone said like that! So basically, you can say it however you want, but it's really 'Leer-a.' I hope this wasn't too confusing and possibly clears up any questions about how to say her name. ~Chapter 9- Day at the Lake~

It was extremely chilly outside when the staff led us to the stands on February twenty-fourth, day of task two. They'd now been moved to the lake. From what Ludo Bagman said, they were retrieving something dear to them The champions, who were lined up to go in the lake, dove in. "Lindsey, you haven't seen Ron or Hermione this morning, have you?" I heard a familiar voice say. Whoever it was, he was talking to me. Neville Longbottom slid into the empty space next beside me. "I hope it's okay with you if I sit here?" he said cautiously. Behind us, someone sniggered. "Perfectly fine," I said, ignoring that. Since the ball, Neville and I had become closer. Just in the sense of friendship, though. I definitely didn't feel anything more than that toward him. We were just similar people, both outcasts with atypical family situations, both Gryffindors who didn't always feel like we fit in. "I shouldn't be in this house," he'd told me one day after Defense Against the Dark Arts. "I should be in Hufflepuff. I'm not brave enough to be in Gryffindor, smart enough for Ravenclaw, or ... well, whatever it is the Slytherins have, I don't have it." "But that's a good thing," I tried to assure him. "Besides, you stood up to Harry, Ron, and Hermione in first year and earned us some house points." "I just told them not to leave Gryffindor Tower at night." "Yes, but we won the House Cup because of that!" "I suppose." He shrugged. "I think Dumbledore was biased, though. I think he only gave that to me so we could beat Slytherin." Now it was my turn to shrug. "If it helps, I haven't always felt very at-home in Gryffindor." "Why? You're brilliant." I tried to hide my blushing face, because what he said was far from the truth. "It's just that ... I'm not brave at all. And my whole family was in Slytherin. Even my aunt. I mean, my mum! Well, all of my

aunts and uncles, too." "You're brave. You're good at getting on Malfoy's nerves." "Yeah, well, that's different." "How so?" "He's my ... erm ... I mean, you could say we're related in ways. We've known each other for some time and haven't really got along." This was a lie, of course, as I hadn't even met my Slytherin cousin until starting Hogwarts, but I really didn't want the word of him being my cousin reaching the ears of every person in the school. I knew he would keep his mouth shut about it. Neither of us liked to admit that we were closely related by blood, so much to the point we shared the same grandparents. "He's in your family, you mean? Wait, you said your whole family was in Slytherin. Are you the only Gryffindor ever to live in your family?" "Well, um ... " I also wasn't about to admit that the only other Gryffindor in my family was a mass-murderer still on the run. "Yeah, you could say that," I said in a rush, "but my sister was a Hufflepuff." This was when I began to realize why I really couldn't make friends. Keeping the secrets of my life hidden from them was not an easy accomplishment; nonetheless, I actually had someone to talk to for a change. Now here we were, sitting in front of the lake at the second task. Even if the time was mostly filled with silence, I didn't mind. I wasn't by myself this time. For a few minutes, I lost myself in thoughts as I stared at the lake. I wondered what it was like down there, trying to win glory for your school. I imagined myself at the bottom of the lake, bolding fighting off every fiend in sight and rescuing something precious from the depths. I could imagine the cheers from the Hogwarts students as I emerged from the top with the sacred Sorting Hat in my hands. For once I wasn't an outcast, but a hero ... a brave hero from Gryffindor house ... "Hello, Neville," a completely new voice said, which snapped me out of my fantasy. It belonged to a girl; I recognized the blonde curls of Luna Lovegood. She took a spot next to Neville, neatly tucking her robes behind her. "How are you doing?"

"I'm all right. Have you met - ?" "I know you!" Luna interrupted him, and it seemed as if she'd taken no notice of what he was asking. "You're that fourth year Gryffindor! Lizzie Tanks, if I'm not mistaken?" "That's Lindsey," I corrected. "Lindsey Tonks." "You know, you don't really look like a Lindsey. Why did your parents name you that?" Annoyed, I said, "I don't know why they named me that. Why did they name you Luna?" "Well, I was born under the full moon, and it goes back hundreds of year ago, when my great-great-great-great-great - " "Got it," I told her. I wasn't about to say anything else. I understood that Luna was eccentric and there was no reasoning with her. "What do you think is going on in the lake, Neville?" Luna asked. "Oh, um ... " "My senses are tingling. I'm positive someone has been bitten by a bumbling bubblehead." This was so random that I actually looked at her and said, "What?" "Bumbling bubbleheads," Luna said. "You know, gnomes that live underwater? They have a bubble around their head so they can breathe down there. Their teeth are really poisonous and if you get bitten by one you turn into a giant purple eel." "What in Merlin's name are you talking about?" I asked. "Didn't you just hear what I just said?" Forget it, I said to myself. The first champion up was Fleur, and it was much too early. She didn't appear to have anything with her when she came out of the lake. Once she'd climbed into the stands, I noticed she looked shaken and worried. She must have been attacked (by something other than bumbling bubbleheads). We applauded her anyway as the judges took her aside. "I'm just glad I'm not in this," Neville said with a shudder. "Who knows what's at the bottom of that lake?"

Of course the question was meant to be a comment, not something that needed to be answered, but Luna started up a speech. "Well, for starters, there have to be aquatic nargles. And I've already mentioned bumbling bubbleheads ... " Next was Cedric. He appeared with Cho Chang at his side. She'd been the figure he'd miss the most. Everyone applauded as the judges dragged the two from the lake. Then they were swept away to be dried off, so we waited again. Soon, Viktor Krum came up with Hermione at this side. That's where she had been. That must mean Ron was down there too - he was most likely the thing Harry would miss the most. "That's where they were, Neville," I pointed out. "Ron must be down there," he agreed. "That's Ronald Weasley? It doesn't look like him. Padma Patil said he looked like a monkey," Luna remarked. "Maybe that's just because he didn't dance with her at the ball ... hmmm ... " We waited. It was well past the hour now - the champions' time was up. But where was Harry? Had he been attacked as well? And what about Ron and - assuming the thing she would miss most was a person - Fleur's hostage? Finally, they emerged: Harry, Ron, and a younger girl with sliveryblonde hair: she had to be Fleur's sister. The three rose from the lake and went to get dried off. We waited again. I honestly didn't care about the scores the judges gave out. The task was meaningless to me, and until today I really hadn't had any reason to attend them. But now I did. For the first time in my life, I had a friend. Maybe even two, because after some time Luna's crazy remarks seemed normal. She wasn't so bad once you got to know her a little better. And so, weeks turned into months, and everything seemed relatively normal for Hogwarts. There was no trace of anything odd or dark, and for a short amount of time I was relaxed, at ease, free of worry. My thoughts were filled with light from the sun, not darkness that closed in around everything. Shaking the nerves away was a good feeling. It didn't last. All my suspicions returned when Mr. Crouch seemed to disappear off the face of this earth.

End Notes: Hey guys, I know this was short and possibly boring, but I hope it gives you a look at why Lyra can't get close to people. Keep this in mind for later! Back to index Chapter 10- The Easter Holidays by Lyra Lestrange Author's Notes: Sorry about the shortness, guys. Hopefully this will give you a good idea about the relationship between Tonks and Lyra. It's the final chapter before the climax of part one! Oh, and JK still owns HP. ~Chapter 10- The Easter Holidays~ It had been so long since I'd seen my family. I normally saw them at Christmas but the Yule Ball took that away. However, over the Easter holidays I took the Hogwarts Express home. As soon as I stepped off onto Platform 9 , it was immediate that I'd been missed. Dora ran up to me and gave me a hug so tight I felt the air being pushed out of me. "Linds!" she said. "It's been forever! I haven't seen you for eight months! How is everything? I want to know all about the tasks - I've read about them in the Prophet but I want to hear everything firsthand." "Let her breathe, Nymphadora," Andromeda's voice said. Dora stepped away from me and I caught sight of each of them - Ted, Andromeda, and Dora, her hair in a turquoise ponytail today. "I'm fine," I said. "But I have a lot to tell you." "Then let's get home so we can hear everything," Andromeda said.

Over dinner that night, we shared our stories. Ted and Andromeda told about their lives at home: how Andromeda had been busy keeping the house spotless as usual while Ted was his lazy self. Dora told about her job at the Ministry and how she'd decided that turquoise was currently her favorite hair color. I told them all how I'd been doing at school and gave them detailed stories about the tasks. Then my latest concern popped into my head - Mr. Crouch's absence. I asked Dora if she knew anything about this. "No, I don't," she answered. "I didn't know he'd been gone at all."

"They all say he's ill," I replied. "But I don't see how he can be sick all the time." "He could have a chronic illness," she suggested lightly. "If he had a serious chronic illness, he wouldn't have been a judge, would he?" She shrugged her shoulders, reaching for the vegetables and spilling them over the tablecloth in the process. "It's strange. I'll tell you if I find out anything."

Later that evening, I was in my room eating the white chocolate truffles I'd received for Easter. Andromeda had made them homemade; therefore they were better than anything you could buy at Honeydukes. I stared blankly at my wall and popped another piece into my mouth when the door burst open and Dora came in. "Hey," she said. "Hi." I didn't look up, but took another bite of chocolate. "So. Is there anything you want to tell me?" "Tell you?" I looked at her and lowered my eyebrows. "I told you everything over dinner." "Come on, Lyra. You know what I'm talking about. You were being extremely vague over our journal entries, and I can't say I blame you in case it fell into wrong hands, but now you can tell me in person. What happened at the ball? Tell me what's between you and this Neville guy." She gave me a sly smile. "Oh, no. No, no, no. You don't get it. I went to the ball with him and that was it. Nothing more. We're friends now, but we're not ... going out or anything." She looked slightly disappointed. "But if there was anybody ... " "You'd know," I said. "But that's not going to happen. I'm ... busy with school and all. You know how it is." "Lame excuse," she said with the wave of her hand. "You'll be even busier next year; it's your O.W.L. year." "Fine! Dora, you know I can't have a boyfriend anyway. You know who I am, and no one else can find out about that. If I got close to

somebody, they'd know." Now she looked at me sympathetically. "But that doesn't mean - " "Yes, it does! Don't you get it? People cringe when they see my face, okay? I know you can make yourself as attractive as you want, but when people see me, they see the face of not one, but two Death Eaters! It scares them, all right? There's nothing I can do to help this, either. That's just the way it is and that's how it's always going to be." She sighed. "All right, then." "And I suppose the fact that I actually have a friend now means nothing to you." She looked hurt. "You have friends. What about ... er ... Harry Potter?" "Right. Famous Harry Potter wants to be friends with an outcast like me." "Why do you have to be so negative all the time? Lighten up a little." I rolled my eyes and ate another truffle. "We haven't seen each other for months. Hey, why don't you come to my room with me?" I followed her to her room, which was completely different from mine. Her walls were each painted lime green and were covered in posters of the Weird Sisters. She also had writing utensils, papers (which oddly looked like they were from the Auror office), tubes of lipstick and other makeup, various articles of clothing, and old copies of the Prophet littered all over her floor. Dora was like the seven-year-old who was often told to clean her room but never obeyed her parents. I threw a pink sweater off a chair sat down on it. "What is it?" "We have plenty of time. We should play wizard chess while we catch up." I shrugged. "That's fine." She pulled up a small table and another chair, and the game began. Flicking her wand, she turned on her Wireless and we listened to the Weird Sisters' latest hit. When that was over, Celestina Warbeck's

most recent came on, a sappy song called My Heart Burns with the Heat of Incendio.' "I can't stand her!" Dora exclaimed after only a few bars (Celestina hadn't even reached the chorus yet), turning the Wireless off. "Let's listen to something else." She left her seat and manually got up and turned on some round device, unlike anything I'd ever seen before, that began to play unfamiliar music. "What is that?" I asked. "It's a radio," she said. "It's like a Muggle Wireless. I've been listening to Muggle music lately and it's better than you'd expect. They have a huge variety. It's not all Weird Sisters and Celestina Warbeck. Anyway, let's get back to the game." We played, we talked, we listened. Dora seemed somewhat disappointed with my conversation when I went on about how exams were coming up and how Mr. Crouch's disappearance was just one of the few strange occurrences. She acted as though she wanted to hear something more exciting. "I mean, it's strange, isn't it? Harry's name in the Goblet, Mr. Crouch being absent, the Mark at the World Cup, Snape and Karkaroff's discussion ... do you think something's going on?" She shrugged as she ordered her chess piece to destroy mine. "Dora! Did you even hear me?" "What? Oh, sorry. Well, it's certainly is strange, but who knows? This stuff's been happening all over since Harry Potter's first year. He claims You-Know-Who was trying to get the Sorcerer's Stone three years ago, but for all we know, You-Know-Who could be dead." Furious, I said, "You're an Auror! You're supposed to care more about this stuff! What if something's going on and we need to be reading the signs more carefully?" "I'm sorry," she said. "Please, you're on holiday; can't we just enjoy a game of chess for once?" I let out a frustrated moan, then, calming down slightly, said, "Dora ... there is one thing, though. Lately, my wrist - you know, the one that hurt at the World Cup - has been hurting and throbbing. It's in the same place."

She looked at me seriously. "Hmmm. Well, I think you should get medical help. You could - " "No!" I screamed. "It's not medical, it's magic! Dark magic! It's like I have a trace of the Mark! Why won't you believe me?" "Fine!" she yelled, actually standing up from her chair so quickly that she knocked the chess board off the table, causing the pieces to fall to the floor and shatter. "But I don't know what to do about that! You know I haven't been an Auror for even a year yet, so why do you expect me to know every little detail about Dark Magic? I'm not perfect, Lyra!" I stared at her for a moment. Finally, I said. "I know you're not. Never mind. I ... I didn't mean - I'm just - I don't know ... worried." "It's all right," she said soothingly. "But if something's coming, it will eventually come, and we'll just have to deal with it." Her tone scared me. That was it; I was sure of it now. Something huge was coming, and it would probably be soon. She - as the rest of the Aurors - had been reading the signs as well. But how would it affect me? End Notes: Reviews always help! I'm not just saying that. You reviewers really keep me on track. Back to index Chapter 11- The Imposter by Lyra Lestrange Author's Notes: Hey, everyone! It's the final chapter of part one...hope you like it! It's longer than my average chapter, too, so those who have been wanting longer chapters, here it is! :) ~Chapter 11- The Imposter~ After the break, Harry claimed Mr. Crouch reappeared in the forest. He was apparently out of his mind and somehow managed to strangely disappear again. Another strange, unexplainable occurrence. Finally, the evening of June the twenty-fourth came, and we were all gathered in the stands again. This time they were on the Quidditch pitch and there were giant hedges everywhere forming a maze. The Triwizard Cup was hidden in the middle. The maze had obstacles in it that we couldn't see: enchantments and even magical beasts to challenge them. They were to send up red sparks if they got in trouble.

Ludo Bagman dismissed the champions into the labyrinth as they lined up outside the entrance. With a magnified voice, he announced the current standings. Harry and Cedric tied for first, Krum was in third, and Fleur was in last. Everyone cheered for the champions as Bagman got his whistle ready. Once he blew it, Harry and Cedric went into the maze. Bagman blew his whistle again and Krum entered, followed by Fleur a few seconds later. There wasn't much to see as the champions went through the maze. Every so often, light from spells illuminated a spot in the hedges, but nothing more could be seen. "Look who it is!" I heard somebody say behind me, and before I knew it, Luna Lovegood was sitting beside me, with Neville taking the spot next to her. "Hi ... Luna." "Hi, Leslie!" "Actually, it's Lindsey. But you were kind of close." "I try to remember names. It's just that you don't look like a Lindsey. Are you Muggle-born?" "N - No," I said, afraid of where this was heading. "You look like someone who comes from a long line of a rich wizard family. Your name should be something that suits a witch like that better. Like my name, Luna." Those words made me realize that underneath all the oddity, Luna Lovegood was actually really smart. "Well ... Lindsey's not my favorite name," I admitted. "Then go by a nickname! I'll call you LT from now on. That will definitely be easier to remember." "No, no, please call me Lindsey," I insisted. "It's easier that way." I didn't think I could handle any more names than the two I already had. Changing the subject, she said, "Well, what do you think is going on in there?" She addressed me like I was a close companion.

I shrugged. "I don't know. Maybe things like boggarts ... Hagrid's skrewts ... magical obstacles ... and probably several enchantments we've never even heard of before." "I bet they have to get past heliopaths," Luna said. Another creature I'd never heard of. "What is a heliopath?" I asked, slightly annoyed. "A body of fire. It destroys everything in its path. It would destroy them if they weren't careful. They would be nothing but ashes." "Luna, if there are heliopaths in there, why aren't the hedges burning? Luna?" I looked at her, but her giant blue eyes were fixed on something else. "Look!" she gasped, pointing into the maze. "Oh, no, I bet someone got attacked by nargle!" I looked out and saw red sparks above a spot in the maze. Moments later, Professor McGonagall was pulling an extremely shaken Fleur Delacour into the stands. Nothing else happened for awhile. Luna and I chatted a bit, but Luna did most of the talking, saying she wanted to go and search for Crumple-Horned Snorkacks in Sweden. I had no idea what these were but kept all my thoughts to myself. Finally, once it was totally dark, Luna stopped talking. It was at that point we all realized something was wrong. It seemed all three champions should have been out by now. It was far too late and the maze wasn't all that big. Where was everybody? Maybe there were more obstacles in the maze than I had assumed. But surely the task wasn't meant to last this long ... And then it happened. My wrist exploded with pain-pain like I had never experienced before. It was far worse than it had been at the World Cup. I clutched my arm and closed my eyes tight, rubbing until it subsided. "Lindsey? Are you okay?" Neville asked in concern two seats down. I couldn't answer; it hurt too badly. Finally, a bluish glow lit up the darkness in front of the maze entrance. By the tiny amount of light shining, I recognized Harry and Cedric. Everyone cheered and clapped for a moment, but suddenly stopped. Indeed, something was positively wrong. Many people screamed and several authorities-Dumbledore,

Cornelius Fudge-ran forward to investigate. I tried to get a better look, but couldn't see much. Harry appeared to be shaking and sobbing. I caught a glimpse of Cedric's face which had been obscured by Harry's body. His expression was blank and still. But surely not ... Dumbledore turned Harry over and said something to him. Harry whispered something back, and by the light of the several wands that were now pointing at the scene, he appeared to be saying, "He's back. He's back. Voldemort." [*] Fear flooded me. Voldemort, back? No, that was impossible ... he couldn't be? Or could he? And then reality hit me. It had to be true. Visions and words from events of the past year swam into my head: the Mark at the World Cup, Mad-Eye Moody coming out of retirement, Harry's name coming from the Goblet, Karkaroff's and Snape's conversation at the Yule Ball, Mr. Crouch's disappearance, my throbbing wrist, Cedric's unmoving body. The strange events all had to do with Voldemort's return. It was all supposed to lead up to this in the end. Cornelius Fudge realized what happened upon closer inspection and said loud enough for most of us to hear, "Dumbledore - he's dead!" [*] Dead. The word spread through the stands in a heartbeat. Amos Diggory, who had come for Cedric's performance, was now running forward to his son. Many people screamed and sobbed, but I was too shocked to even think straight. I couldn't hear what was going on in front anymore, though I saw Mad-Eye Moody come over and grab Harry to take him to the hospital wing. I had no idea how it had happened, what had happened ... but Harry's emotional breakdown and Cedric's dead body proved it. Lord Voldemort was definitely back.

The teachers dismissed us to the common rooms a line at a time. Guests were sent away. My legs felt like jelly; I couldn't feel them as I walked to the Gryffindor common room. Voldemort, back ... for real ... I sat on the bed in my dormitory for what felt like eternity. Lavender, Parvati, and Hermione sat quietly as well. Finally, Parvati said quietly, "Do you - do you really think it's true?" Hermione nodded slowly, but Lavender shook her head. "No. I don't

believe it." "I do," I said softly. "The signs show it." "What signs?" Lavender asked. "Think about it: the Mark, Harry's name in the Goblet ... " "The Mark was just a group of Death Eaters having fun," she said flatly. "And Harry somehow tricked the Goblet. That's how that happened." "Then what about Mr. Crouch's disappearance?" "He was ill!" "He was not! The Dark Lord is back, there's no denying it!" "There's absolutely no proof!" Lavender argued. "You can't be sure! I don't believe it." "No. The truth is that you don't want to believe it. You know he's back. You're just scared. You don't want to believe he's back." Lavender actually stood up and reached for her wand. "I never said that!" "But that's - " I stopped. Professor McGonagall had entered the dormitory. This was strange - she rarely ever visited Gryffindor Tower, let alone the dorms. "Miss Tonks, the headmaster would like to see you." I froze. "He ... he would?" "Yes. You're not in trouble, he just wishes to ... well, come." I obeyed without question, wondering what Dumbledore wanted. I followed Professor McGonagall through halls, around corridors, down flights of stairs until we reached Professor Moody's office on the third floor. Professor Dumbledore was standing by the door. "Ah. Thank you, Minerva. I'll take it from here," he said, and McGonagall left. "Now, Miss Tonks ... or should I say, Miss Lestrange ... "

"You knew?" I suddenly blurted. I thought the only people outside my family who knew my real identity were certain Ministry wizards. "Of course I knew," Dumbledore said. "But I assure you, I am the only one here at Hogwarts who knows." Stunned, I listened to him as he went on. "This may be a bit of a shock to you, but there is someone who wishes to see you. I must explain; you have the right to know. Professor Moody was not really Alastor Moody, but an imposter using Polyjuice Potion. He is really someone we all believed dead Barty Crouch, Jr., Mr. Crouch's son. You see, he put Harry Potter's name in the Goblet of Fire." I was silent for a few seconds, but finally found my voice and said, "So ... so what does this have to do with me?" "Ah, yes. Mr. Crouch, you see, knew your parents. He is a Death Eater. And though I'm highly against it, he wishes to speak to you. It is because of you-not him-that I am allowing this, because I believe you have this right. You may proceed." He took me inside. A man was there, lying on the floor. Dumbledore left, leaving me standing there with this man. He certainly looked similar to Mr. Crouch. He smiled mischievously when he saw me. I stood there without moving a muscle. Not that I could - my legs felt like jelly again. "Yes, yes ... Lyra, is it?" "Y - yes," I stammered weakly. "W - what is it?" "I wanted to speak to you before I get sent to Azkaban. I finally have my chance. I've wanted to talk to you all year. You just ... look so much like your parents. I was close to them. Your parents, your uncle Rabastan Lestrange, and I were the Dark Lord's most faithful servants. We alone searched for him after he disappeared. We knew he'd come back one day." "But what's your point?" I asked blankly. What was Barty Crouch, Jr. trying to tell me? He was telling me information I knew already. "My point is, we were right, the Dark Lord returned. And now, though I'm being sent off to Azkaban, I don't really care. Now that he's back, the dementors will leave the fortress and all the prisoners will be free. I'll escape, your parents will escape...I'm sure you've always wanted to meet them, and soon you'll be able to see them. Am I right?"

"Well ... " Of course he was right, I wanted to meet them. But my words came back to me. "Still, what's your point?" "I guess I just wanted to talk to you. I haven't seen your parents forever, and you're as close as I can get. I was wondering if we could discuss matters-" I suddenly felt angry, and let out a laugh of rage. "You want to discuss matters about your master with me? That Polyjuice Potion has obviously gone to your head. Listen, Mr. Crouch, I'm not my parents. I'm a simple fourth year student under a false identity and I'm a Gryffindor. If you think I'm going to go the same way my parents did, you're very wrong." "You think I'm wrong? How about the day I performed the Unforgivable Curses for your class? Do you think I missed the look in your eyes when I performed the Cruciatus Curse? You're just like your mother. The Cruciatus Curse was her specialty." I was stunned. That's why he'd stared at me: he had known, but he was thinking of me from the Death Eater perspective, not the exAuror perspective. He stared back at me. I figured he'd said everything he wanted to say. But then I realized something-maybe he would share information with me about the Death Eaters. Maybe I could find out why my parents were locked up once and for all. "So, then ... what happened? Why did the Dark Lord - " He interrupted me. "I have nothing to say to you. You're not who I thought you were." "Right you are," I told him, just as the door opened. I froze with fear for the millionth time that night. Somebody had let a dementor into the room. Dementors weren't supposed to be at Hogwarts; Dumbledore had made that clear last year. This was the last case I was expecting I didn't know what to do. I didn't know how to cast a Patronus charm. But the dementor glided over to Barty Crouch, Jr. and reached for his neck with its scabby hands. Pulling back its hood, I saw the most grotesque face ever - scabbed and raw, with socketless eyes. Mr. Crouch struggled under the dementor's grasp as the monster began to perform it: the dementor's kiss. "No - wait!" I gasped. I didn't know if I was talking to the dementor

or Mr. Crouch. "I still don't know why - don't do it!" It was horrible, but I couldn't pull my eyes away. The dementor did it: sucked out his soul, leaving him worse than dead. And Barty Crouch, Jr.'s secrets of the past were left in his empty mind forever with no way for me to discover them.

A memorial service for Cedric was held before the end of term. Dumbledore told everyone about how he had been murdered by Lord Voldemort, though the Ministry stood firm and didn't want us to know this bit of information. However, Dumbledore said not telling us would have been an insult to Cedric Diggory's memory. We also learned that Karkaroff had fled when he felt the Mark burnthe Death Eaters had been called to Voldemort's rebirth and had felt the Mark burn on their wrists (that was what the searing pain I'd felt in my wrist during the maze). Karkaroff had been a Death Eater after all. The end of the year had never been so gloomy. Cedric was dead, Voldemort was back, and the Wizarding world was possibly headed into a war. Yet, several people had acted like Lavender and disagreed with Harry and Dumbledore about his return - Cornelius Fudge, for instance. We also found out some of the story behind Voldemort's return. The Triwizard cup had apparently been a Portkey which took Harry and Cedric to a graveyard. There Cedric was murdered and Harry saw the Death Eaters and Voldemort. This was all we knew, as they wouldn't tell us the details. Although, considering so many people didn't even believe anything in the first place, details about Voldemort's return were unnecessary. Of course, I wanted to know the details. Questions burned into my head over the next few days: Who were the Death Eaters? How many were there? What did they say when their master, who had been gone for over a decade, was reborn? And then I thought of my parents and how they were in Azkaban. Obviously they'd felt the Mark burn, so they knew he was back. The ride back from Hogwarts on departing day was as normal as ever. I sat alone in a compartment and pondered recent events. Barty Crouch, Jr. had said the dementors would leave Azkaban and everyone would escape. Did this mean I really would get to see my parents someday?

That led to my biggest burning questions: if I did see them, what would happen? Would it go okay? Would they even bother to find me? Would they care? Would they tell me what happened; why they got sent to prison? Would I find out anyway from another source? How would they treat me? And more importantly, what would I think of them? Would I forgive them or would I hate them? Stop, I told myself after several minutes of repeating these questions in my head. You can't worry about this. What comes eventually comes. As soon as I got off the train at the platform, Ted, Andromeda, and Dora were waiting to escort me home. Dora immediately pulled me into a hug and said, "Oh, thank goodness. How are you after everything that's happened? I meant to write to you but I was so busy at work!" "Dora, Dora, I'm fine, but I have a lot to tell you. I am assuming you all believe the rumors, right?" "Of course we do," Andromeda said. "I knew he'd come back eventually. Based on how dedicated my sister was on claiming he'd return someday ... we all know how that ended up." Before I could take in what she'd said, Dora blurted, "Lyra, I'm so sorry! You knew it was coming and tried to warn me! You read the signs like Dumbledore did while I sat back and slacked off, thinking it was no big deal! And now ... and now ... there could be another war approaching ... " She seemed to be holding back tears. "I should have listened! I'm a terrible Auror, I know I am!" "Be quiet," I said. "We need to get home to discuss this. Don't worry about thinking it wasn't a big deal; many people don't even believe he's back." "But there must be something we can do! To convince people, to help fight!" "Maybe there is," I told her. "But for now, we have to wait and let the events run their course. If there is a war coming, it will come. There's no stopping it." And I knew, deep down, that it would come. Everyone would have to face this change, whether they took a side or not. I would have to face it and choose one, which should have been an easy decision, but I was still torn as usual. If my parents were in it and I had to fight them, which one would I choose? Would I pick any at all?

My conscience answered me: Yes, and you know very well which one you'd take. END OF PART ONE. End Notes: [*] Quote taken from the American version of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, page 671 Part two is now being posted!

Back to index Chapter 12- The Order by Lyra Lestrange Author's Notes: I'm really excited for part two to start. I think you will all enjoy it much better than part one. This chapter was personally one of my favorites to write, so much I wrote it in advance! And JKR still owns HP. ~~PART TWO- THE STORM APPROACHES~~ ~Chapter 12- The Order~ Nothing was happening. Life after a year at Hogwarts was just as normal as ever. No weird unsolved mysteries such as disappearances or murders were being reported. Voldemort was trying to conceal his return. He probably thought it was funny, the way people argued about the rumors. Dora came home from work one hot summer day extremely late. Andromeda went berserk, crying, "Where were you? Why didn't you send an owl? Anything could have happened to you!" "Relax, I'm fine," Dora said. "I got tied up at work and remember, I'm an Auror, I'm twenty-two, I'm fully grown, I can take care of myself!" "Right," Andromeda said with an exasperated sigh. "Now, why did you get tied up?" Dora sighed, sat on the chair opposite of mine, and said, "There's something I want to discuss with all of you." She looked like she was faking stress and seriousness, because I could tell that underneath, something was making her eager and excited. "Go on," Andromeda said.

"Well, today I met up with Kingsley Shacklebolt at work - you know, he's an Auror too - and he discussed something with me. It's kind of confidential, but ... well, since we believe You-Know-Who is back, I suppose I can tell you. Dumbledore formed an anti-You-Know-Who organization. It's called the Order of the Phoenix, and he wants me to join. As an Auror and a Metamorphmagus, I could be a huge help to it - that's what he said - so I thought about it and ... I want to join." We were silent for a few moments. Then Andromeda said, "Well ... yes ... that would be okay ... if you want ... " "It's my decision," Dora said. "And Kingsley said he'd introduce me to the Order and everything. Wait, is something wrong?" I noticed Andromeda had a strange, almost tearful look on her face. She sighed and said, "Well ... it's just ... this could be so dangerous, fighting the Dark Side ... " And tears began to stream from her eyes. "I just ... love you so much ... and if anything happened to you, well ... I lost my sisters and cousins to the other side ... and you'll be fighting them ... " I understood her. Bellatrix and Narcissa hadn't talked to Andromeda since she married Ted, but they were her sisters after all. And if Dora got seriously injured or killed in the coming war, well ... I guess I understood Andromeda's feelings. Our family was so divided. "And if one of them killed you ... or if you killed them ... " Andromeda said as she collapsed onto the couch where Ted held her. "That won't happen," I said. "Narcissa isn't a Death Eater and Bellatrix is locked away in Azkaban." Andromeda sniffed again. "I hate being torn apart like this." "I know," Dora said softly. "And I know that's why you don't take sides. But I have to do what's right. I want to join the Order. Please understand. I feel like ... like it's my duty or something, since I'm lucky enough to be a Metamorphmagus. It's like ... well, I hate comparing myself to this, but it's like how Death Eaters think it's their duty to purify the race, since most of them were born pureblood." Andromeda nodded. "But please be careful, Nymphadora!"

I sat on my bed. The news of Dora joining this Order gave me those

usual mixed feelings about good and bad. I argued with my conscience all evening. She's doing the right thing. But she's fighting your parents. They're in Azkaban. But what if they escaped? They won't. I'll never see them, ever. You don't know that. Yes, I do. But really, what if they escaped? Dora would be fighting them. Whose side would you take? I don't know. I'd want to take the Order's side. But what if they killed your parents? Well, then it wouldn't matter because I never knew them, anyway! I fought this internal battle all evening until Dora came into my room. She must have seen the distressed look on my face because she came over, hugged me, and said, "It's all right." "No, it's not," I replied. "You don't understand. You'll never understand." She sighed. "You know what, Linds? You really don't give yourself enough credit." "What are you talking about?" "You just ... always think the worst. You think too negatively." "My life has been pretty negative, for the most part, Dora," I stated plainly. "Yeah, well, you should have more confidence and faith. You're really not like your parents, if that's what you're afraid of. I don't know them, of course, but I know all about those kind of people, and

you're not one of them, nor have you ever been. Nor can you ever be." "Well ... thanks, Dora. But this isn't really about that. This about about ... being torn between two sides. Knowing you could be fighting them, well ... that's not a pleasant thought. I know they're in Azkaban, but that could change, based on what just happened." "And I can't ... change that," she admitted. "But just think about what I said. Give yourself more credit. Think of ways you're different from them, not ways you're alike, and don't worry about what others think." I'd argued with her over this topic plenty of times before, and I wasn't going to this time. I left her with, "Yeah ... thanks, Dora." "By the way," she said, changing the subject, "I need to tell you that ... I'm getting my own place." "You're moving out?" I exclaimed. "Dora, you can't!" "Listen. I know you don't want me to, but listen! You'll be at school most of the year, and during the summer you can join me at the Order headquarters. We'll still be together." "Yes, but it won't be the same." "I know it won't, but it's really time for me to move out." I sighed. "I know. But hey ... where is this Order headquarters, anyway?" She took a slip of parchment out of her robe pocket, unfolded it, and said, "It says here that the Order of the Phoenix headquarters can be found at Number Twelve, Grimmauld Place in London."

Two days later, Dora was meeting the Order. After a bit of persuading, Andromeda and Ted agreed to let me go with her. We flew to headquarters. It was slow as we both rode our Comet Two-Sixties. I'd never really had the desire to buy a faster broom until then. We finally arrived on a street where there seemed to be a mistake - house number eleven sat right next to number thirteen. There didn't appear to be a number twelve. "Dora, is this a trick?"

"No. It can't be. Trust me; Kingsley would never play a prank on me. No, there must be something we're not seeing ... " The answer came to us as a house forced its way between numbers eleven and thirteen. The Muggles in the houses didn't seem to notice a thing as their homes were pushed apart. "This is it," Dora said. She stepped up to the door and knocked twice with the serpent door knocker. Upon closer observation, I noticed this snake looked rather dark and malevolent. The door opened a moment later and a wizard stood there: he was black and bald with a tiny gold hoop in his ear. "Ah, Tonks," he said. "I knew you'd be arriving soon." "Hello, Kingsley," Dora said. "This is Lindsey, my sister. I brought her along, if that's okay. I know she can't participate in the meetings." "That should be fine. Come in," he said. We walked into the house and I immediately grabbed my nose without thinking. The smells of mold and decay wafted around me. It looked as though no one had lived here for years. I observed the house. It looked relatively normal at first, but upon closer observation I noticed some rather gruesome looking objects. House elf heads were hanging on a plaque attached to the wall and an umbrella stand of what looked like a troll's leg was to the right. The objects around the house seemed extremely fitting to dark wizards, which made me wonder if this whole thing might be a trap once more. Without thinking, I wrapped my hand around the wand in my robe pocket. "The rest of the Order are through here," Kingsley said. "I'll introduce them to you. They've been expecting you." He led us to a door and opened it to reveal a kitchen. As soon as I proceeded in, I froze. I hardly noticed anyone else in the kitchen because my eyes were drawn to the man sitting at the table, the one with long black hair. "Dora, it's him!" I exclaimed. "I knew this was a trap! Look, he's right there!" As I said this, my wand was whipped out of my pocket and aimed in his direction. Kingsley and several others laughed. The man at the table came

over, smiling, and held out his hand. "Hi, I'm Sirius Black, and you, I believe, are my cousin?" His hair was cleaner than it had been in the wanted posters and he was wearing fresh robes that weren't ripped, torn, or matted with mud. He had obviously been living somewhere - this house, I supposed? I didn't shake his hand. Last time I'd heard anything about him was on wanted posters from Azkaban and possible sightings from the Daily Prophet. He was a murderer, after all. I didn't care that he was my second cousin. "W - what are you doing here?" I stammered. "I'm in the Order, of course. Or - hasn't anyone told you? I'm not a murderer like everyone thinks I am. I'm innocent, it was Wormtail Peter Pettigrew - who betrayed the Potters. Didn't you ... ?" He looked at Dora. "Sorry, I forgot to tell her," she told Sirius. "This is Lindsey, by the way, and I'm Tonks. I've heard about you from Kingsley. It's nice to finally meet my cousin! I'm glad everything turned out the way it did." "Well, my name won't be cleared anytime soon," said Sirius, "but at least I'm not in Azkaban." My stomach flip-flopped as I thought about the wizard prison. Maybe Sirius had seen my parents there. "So you had to keep that one little fact to yourself, did you, Dora?" I asked, going back to the 'my second cousin actually is not a murderer' subject. "I forgot!" she snapped. "Shocking," I groaned, rolling my eyes. "Sisters, I take it?" Sirius asked. "Andromeda's," replied Dora. "That's what I've heard." "Anyway," Kingsley said. "For those that don't know, this is Nymphadora Tonks and her sister, Lindsey." He turned to me and Dora. "Obviously you've met Sirius. And this is Molly Weasley and

her husband, Arthur." Ron's parents. We shook their hands. He introduced us to the others who were there: the real Alastor Moody, Bill Weasley, Emmeline Vance, Elphias Doge, Hestia Jones, Sturgis Podmore, and Dedalus Diggle. We greeted each one before sitting down at the table. It was quite awkward and I was beginning to regret coming to this meeting. I was the person there who was underage and knew I wasn't allowed in the meeting. I dreaded thinking about what I was going to do. Explore the house? Yeah, that sounded exciting. "We'll eat first," Mrs. Weasley said. "Then we'll start the meeting. This way our newcomers will have a chance to get to know everyone." She summoned stew and bread to the table and we helped ourselves to the meal. At first it was awkward and silent, and I felt slightly uncomfortable being surrounded by so many adults - looking up at Dora, she seemed so much older than she actually was (however, her hair, which today was bright blue with a red streak in it, easily took some away from that). The Order members questioned Dora after a few minutes of silence. Sirius said, "So, Nymphadora, Kingsley says you're a Metamorphmagus. Can you show us?" "I will," she said. "But please, call me Tonks. It's so much better than ... Nymphadora." "Andy gave you that name didn't she?" Sirius said. "Yes," Dora muttered. "Well, I'll show you ... " She grabbed the red streak in her hair and turned it pink. Everyone applauded her transformation. The rest of dinner was somewhat boring for me - the Order couldn't talk about their confidential information in front of me and they were mainly questioning Dora, but at least the meal was good. Mrs. Weasley said she'd cooked it. I was almost finished as Kingsley said, "Alastor, who else is coming tonight?" "Remus is on his way, he couldn't come for dinner," Moody said. "And Severus isn't coming tonight; he has school business to do. Minerva said she'd try to make it, and I'm sure Mundungus is coming."

Out of the four names he mentioned, I recognized three. If they were who I thought they were, Remus was Remus Lupin, my third year D.A.D.A. teacher, Severus was Professor Snape, and Minerva was Professor McGonagall. "So - there are Hogwarts teachers in the Order?" I asked, hoping it wasn't a stupid question. "Yes," Moody said. "Well, just Snape and McGonagall. And Dumbledore, of course." Suddenly the door banged open and a drunk-looking man with matted ginger hair was standing there. "Ah, Mundungus," Sirius said. "The meeting's just about to start." The man called Mundungus sat down and took out a pipe. He lit it and began to smoke it hen he noticed me. "Who're you?" he asked. "Lindsey Tonks," I told him. "I'm Dora's sister." "Uh-huh," he said, seeing Dora. "You're the Auror? The Metamorphthing?" "Yes," she replied. "I'm Nymphadora Tonks, but please just call me Tonks." "Lindsey, dear ... " Mrs. Weasley began gently, as if I were a small child. "The meeting's about to start, and since you're too young ... " "I'll leave," I said. "Feel free to visit the rest of the house," Sirius said. "But I wouldn't touch anything if I were you. My mother left some pretty odd stuff here and we haven't had a chance to decontaminate." "Right." I left the kitchen, happy to leave the smell of Mundungus's tobacco smoke. I traipsed down the hall to the first door I saw and opened it. Inside were a bunch of objects that, like the rest of the house, looked like they belonged to dark wizards. I obeyed Sirius and didn't touch anything as I looked around. Soon I spotted something that caught my eye: a tapestry on the wall. It looked like a family tree. And there it was: Bellatrix Black. Her name was written in gold, and

a line connected it to Rodolphus Lestrange. But I wasn't on there, of course, because I didn't exist. Underneath Bellatrix was a burn mark, and below that was another name: Narcissa Black, connected to another name saying Lucius Malfoy. A line came from their interlinked names and connected to Draco Malfoy. But where was Andromeda? She should have been between Bellatrix and Narcissa. Then I saw the burn mark again. Obviously Andromeda had been blasted off when she married Ted, a Muggleborn. He wasn't on there, either - therefore, neither was Dora. I lost track of time as I studied the tree. I was observing the names of several generations back when I heard a voice say, "I wouldn't get too attached to that if I were you." I jumped and turned around. Sirius. "I was just ... " "I know," Sirius said. "But you won't find your name on there because Andy got blasted off." "I figured that was her," I said, pointing to the burn mark. "Is it because she married a Muggle-born?" "Yes. I'm not on there, either, see?" he said, pointing to another burn mark above the name Regulus Black. "I ran away from home." "Why?" "Why? Because I hated my parents. You can see what kind of people they were, based on this house, can't you? And my brother wasn't any better. He joined the Death Eaters." "He did?" "Yes. But he was killed." "Oh. I'm sorry." "Don't be. I hated him too. I hated all my family: my insane parents, my cousins ... except for Andromeda, of course. She was my favorite." I nodded and sat down on the ground, placing my head in my hands. "Are you okay?" Sirius asked. "Yes," I sighed. "This night has just been so weird. First I find out you're innocent, and then the tree just ... puts things into

perspective." "Yes." He looked into my eyes and shook his head. "You look so much like my cousin Bellatrix. She was sent to Azkaban with her husband Rodolphus and his brother, Rabastan." "What - what did ... ?" I tried to speak, but my voice was dry. "What did they do?" Sirius asked, half-laughing. "Ah, they were such idiots. They thought they'd go off and - " The door swung open and Dora came in, her hair changed to a waist-length neon green. Suddenly furious that I was so close to finding out what my parents had done, I glared at her for interrupting. "What did I do?" she asked me. My gazed softened and I looked away. "Nothing." "I know this probably has you shaken up again. Well, it's almost time to leave. I came to get you." "Okay." I stood up to leave, but someone else appeared behind Dora: Remus Lupin. His robes were shabby as usual and his faced was scarred slightly more than it had been the last time I'd seen him, which made since; as Professor Snape had accidentally' revealed to the whole school at the end of my third year was that Lupin was a werewolf. "Nymphadora," he said. "Alastor wants to see you before you leave." "Okay. And it's Tonks, remember? Get it right!" "All right then, Tonks. Oh, hello, Lindsey!" "Hi," I said, thinking about how weird this was. My ex-D.A.D.A. teacher and my wrongfully-accused cousin were standing right in this room. This night had been so strange. "I haven't seen you since I resigned. How is everything?" "Fine," I told him weakly. "Well, hold on a minute, Linds. I'll see what Mad-Eye wants, then we'll leave," Dora told me. I nodded and she walked out with Lupin as Sirius said, "Tonks, you

might want to change your hair. It's blinding me." "Shut up," she snarled as she followed Lupin. "Remus thinks it looks okay." She closed the door and Sirius turned to me, saying, "Oh, yeah. There's definitely more to those two than meets the eye." "Dora and Lupin?" I asked. "Yes. It's only a matter of time before they realize it themselves." I shook my head in disbelief when another thought came to me. "Sirius ... how did you ... " "How did I escape Azkaban?" he asked, laughing again. It sounded bark-like. "Yes," I replied. It was weird - I felt like he could read my thoughts. "Well, what nobody knows is that I'm an unregistered Animagus. I transform into a dog. In my transformed state, I escaped the dementors - they can't see; they can only sense emotion. So I swam the sea as a dog and returned to the mainland. While I was in the area, I pretended to be a stray, but now my disguise is useless. By now, Wormtail will have told Voldemort about it, so I'm locked up in this house. It's basically prison, only worse because of the house elf here." I got the feeling he was only half-joking. "Oh. I'm sorry," I told him, seeing the miserable look on his face. He shrugged as Dora came in again. "We're leaving, Linds. Come on, you've had a long night." The words 'long night' didn't even begin to describe it. After all, I'd just found out my cousin was the opposite of a mass-murderer and hadn't just taken a liking to him, but immediately felt a friendly, family-like bond with him. So, as I walked out of the room, I said, "Goodbye, Sirius. I'll ... see you later." End Notes: I'd love to know what you think of Lyra and Sirius. I hope I characterized the Order members well. Back to index Chapter 13- Spilling Secrets by Lyra Lestrange Author's Notes: Here it is! I still don't own Harry Potter. I've filled in some of the

gaps in OotP, like the Order members talking about tabbing Death Eaters. Hope you all like it. And I hope Sirius's story isn't too 'I know this already.' We all know it, but Lyra doesn't, so you get to see her reactions. ~Chapter 13- Spilling Secrets~ I quickly adjusted to visiting Grimmauld Place. Though I wasn't allowed in the meetings and was therefore stuck in the moldy house with all of the strange artifacts, I was learning a lot about the Black family. My family. The house was known as the Noble and Most Ancient House of Black-and black pretty much described it all: dark and malevolent, obsessed with purifying the race, supporting Voldemort's ideas. I'd learned from my mistakes, however. On the second day at Grimmauld Place I discovered that the portrait of Mrs. Black, Sirius's mother, was easily disturbed. If someone walked just a decibel too loud down the halls, ran into something such as the troll leg umbrella stand (like Dora always did), or rang the doorbell, the curtains over her portrait would fly up and she would begin to scream and wail, saying, "Scum! Dirt! In my house! The shame of it all! Half-breeds, werewolves, blood traitors..." until Sirius finally shut her up. Even stranger than Mrs. Black's portrait, if possible, was Kreacher. He was the old house-elf who lived here, and he absolutely hated Sirius. He was much like Mrs. Black, complaining about the types of people who came into the house. I found it extremely strange that Kreacher bowed every time he saw me, especially considering that I'd never spoken a word to him. Eventually, the meetings became so long and tiring that Dora and I ended up spending the night. Though the house had plenty of bedrooms, the moth-eaten blankets and moldy smell weren't very inviting. However, Mrs. Weasley had made plans to clean up the house-throwing away what Sirius wanted gone, exterminating the rooms of nasty pests-which kept me busy while Dora was in the meetings. But I have to admit some items in the house were dangerous or just plain strange, and often resulted in me embarrassing myself. One time I got my hand stuck in a bewitched toilet on the third floor while cleaning it out and had to wait a whole hour before Mad-Eye helped me out (Dora couldn't stop laughing hysterically). Even worse, I'd opened a door and found an oddly familiar-looking hippogriff in there and screamed, "Sirius, there's a hippogriff in here!" only to have him come up laughing and saying that Buckbeak was his pet.

It was hard work, but it paid off. Not only was I discovering a lot, but I'd gotten to know the members better. At mealtimes we were all entertained when Sirius and Lupin told stories about their Hogwarts days or when Dora performed her crazy noses or when Mundungus told us hilarious tales about his life of crime (which Mrs. Weasley very highly disapproved of). Two weeks after Dora joined, the workload was getting heavier. The Weasley's decided to move in for the summer, so Fred, George, Ron, and Ginny came to stay. Hermione also came, and they made plans to bring Harry up, but they were waiting for the right time. When they arrived, the house became much crazier. Fred and George were up to their usual practical jokes. Now that they were of age, they felt the need to Apparate every few feet and use magic on the tiniest things. However, one of their joke items became extremely useful: Extendable Ears, which allowed us to eavesdrop on meetings (in full awareness that we'd be in loads trouble if we were caught). So one day, Fred and George gave one to each of us. We crowded around the door and let the strings of the Extendable Ears fall to the crack in the doorway. Immediately, the voices in the kitchen were magnified so that we could hear them clearly. "Someone should tab Lucius Malfoy," the voice of Remus Lupin said. "I'll do it," Arthur Weasley said. "I see him around a lot at work; lately he's been suspiciously discussing things with the Minister." "And what about Walden Macnair, of the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures?" Lupin asked. "He's been cleared by the Ministry, but Harry says he was in the graveyard when Voldemort returned. Tonks, could you track him?" "I don't know," Dora asked. "You've seen how clumsy I am. I nearly failed Stealth and Tracking when I trained to be an Auror." "Kingsley, then?" "I'll do it," Kingsley Shacklebolt's deep voice said. Outside the door, Hermione whispered, "So they're tracking known Death Eaters! They're making sure they're-" "Shhhh!" Fred said. "Listen!" Behind the door, Mad-Eye Moody was saying, "So who's doing guard duty tonight?" "Guard duty?" Ginny whispered. "What are they guarding?"

"Well, stop talking and maybe we'll find out!" hissed George. But before we could hear what the Order was saying, Hermione's ginger cat, Crookshanks, came over and began to play with the Extendable Ear strings like they were cat toys. "No, Crookshanks!" Hermione said frantically. "Shhhh, they're talking about Harry!" Ron said suddenly. In the kitchen I heard Lupin's voice say, "We need to form and advance guard to pick up Harry tomorrow. Tonks, you said you'd write the letter-" The rest of their words were muffled because Crookshanks had tangled the strings. I could barely hear anything now, except for the words Mrs. Weasley spoke next: "I'm going to see what's going on outside. I keep hearing something." "Quick, hide them!" Fred said, pulling the wad of string into his pocket, but it was too late: Mrs. Weasley had appeared outside the kitchen door. I braced myself for the explosion. "WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU'RE DOING, LISTENING IN ON THE MEETING?" "We weren't listening in, we were playing with Crookshanks," said Fred. "See?" He held up the string. "What's this?" Mrs. Weasley spat. "Honestly, does it really take six people to play with a cat? No, let me see them, Fred!" She grabbed the string from his hands and read the label on it. "'Extendable Ears, Weasley's Wizard Wheezes?' I thought I told you to throw all of this garbage away!" "It's not garbage," George said. "Well, I'll be trashing them, anyway!"

Later that night, Hermione, Ginny, and I sat in the bedroom we shared and discussed what we'd heard. "They're guarding something," Hermione said as she paced back and forth. "Something important. What could it be?" "Something You-Know-Who's after," Ginny said. "It must be really dangerous. I wish they'd tell us what it was. They say we're too

young, but most of us have faced a lot more than they have!" "Well, Harry's coming over tomorrow," Hermione said. "And I have a feeling Sirius will tell him a lot. Sirius tells Harry everything, and Harry will tell us anything." Sirius tells Harry everything...would he tell me everything? "I could ask Sirius," I said. "He might tell me; I am his cousin." "Well, maybe," Hermione said. "But he's Harry's godfather, and the two are really close. You could try, but it doesn't sound very promising." "But why would Sirius tell his godson something and not his cousin?" I argued. "Harry's known Sirius for two years, so they've bonded," Ginny said. "And well...you've only known him for a few weeks. Why don't you ask Tonks instead? Doesn't she tell you everything?" "She did," I groaned. "But she won't tell me anything about the Order unless I snuck her some Veritaserum." Ginny shrugged. "We'll wait. When Harry gets here, there will be a huge meeting."

Dora, Lupin, Mad-Eye, Kingsley, Elphias, Emmeline, Hestia, Dedalus, and Sturgis all formed an advance guard so they could pick up Harry from his aunt and uncle's house. Dora told me the plan as she stood by the door, getting ready to leave. "So, you lured his aunt and uncle out?" I asked. "Yes," she answered, grabbing her Comet Two-Sixty. Today her hair was totally different: short, spiky, and purple, unlike anything she'd ever tried. "I sent them a letter, saying they won the All-England Best-Kept Suburban Lawn Competition. That way, they'll be gone when we pick him up. Pretty funny, right?" "Sure is," I said dully. "I'll see you later," she said, stepping outside into the night air with the others. "We'll be back soon." "Tonks!" Moody said. "Come on!"

"Sorry!" she replied to him, mounting her broomstick and nearly tripping down the front steps as she did. The door closed, and I heard a sigh. Sirius was right behind me. "Sure wish I could join the advance guard," he said. "I'd love to get out of this house." I turned to face him. "I think they have enough people going already." "That's not the point," he said, sighing again. "Harry's lucky. He gets some action, being attacked by dementors, while I'm stuck here forever." I looked at him, puzzled. "Dementors?" "Yes, haven't you heard? He was attacked by dementors in Little Whinging and had to use magic to escape. They say he's been expelled, but he's going to be tried at the Ministry. The Prophet didn't report it; you know how it is these days, claiming Harry's a nutter for saying Voldemort returned." I flinched at the sound of the Dark Lord's name. Sirius noticed and said, "You really should call him by his name. Being scared of his name only makes Voldemort scarier himself." "I still prefer the Dark Lord," I said. "'You-Know-Who' sounds childish but his real name sounds-well, you know how people are about not saying it." "Only Death Eaters call him the Dark Lord," Sirius said. "Come on, say it with me. Vol. De. Mort." He said that to me as if I was a three year old. "Come on, Lindsey. You think You-Know-Who' is childish but what's really childish is being afraid of a word." "Hmmm. When you say it like that..." I said. "All right, so Harry was attacked by dementors. Does that mean You-Know-oh, fine, Voldemort-sent them after him?" For once, I didn't flinch. Saying his name was actually quite satisfying, like overcoming an obstacle or accomplishing something big. Voldemort, Voldemort, Voldemort. I almost giggled. That was fun. "We don't know yet," Sirius said. "Well, I have to go help prepare for the meeting." He left for the kitchen and I went upstairs to the bedroom. Ginny

and Hermione were there. Hermione was pacing and talking half to herself under her breath. "I mean, I hope he's not mad at us...we wanted to tell him what was going on, but Dumbledore told us we couldn't...I would be angry if I were him, I would want to know...oh, he's going to be so mad! I wish we could tell him, but Dumbledore...well, maybe he'll understand, and he'll find everything out tonight..." "Hermione!" Ginny snapped, looking up from her copy of a magazine featuring the Holyhead Harpies Quidditch Team. "Could you keep your thoughts inside your head? I'm trying to read!" "Sorry," Hermione replied. "It's just...what will Harry think? What do you think, Lindsey?" She jerked her head at me sharply. "Oh...I don't know. He might be mad...I'd probably get angry..." Hermione let out a stressed moan and sat down on her bed. "Hedwig's already pecked me to death; I guess Harry wanted a good, long answer...but I couldn't tell him!" She fiddled her fingers, which had been wounded by Harry's owl. She sighed again. "Maybe I'll talk to Ron." She left. I flopped down on my bed, thinking. Maybe things were getting serious now. Dementors in a Muggle neighborhood...

Harry arrived later that night while the meeting was still going on. He joined Ron and Hermione in Ron's bedroom, and I could hear him shouting at the top of his lungs. Hermione had predicted correctly. "Not happy, is he?" Ginny asked. I shook my head. "I guess I can't blame him. If I were Harry, I'd want to know what was going on." "Yeah," I said lazily. "Come on, let's go," Ginny said. "I think they're outside now; maybe they're trying to use the Extendable Ears again, but it won't work. Mum put an Imperturbable Charm on it. She was furious when she found out we'd been listening to the meetings." She left, but I stayed behind. I was really tired for some reason. I reclined on the bed for awhile before I heard screaming in the hall. Mrs. Black's portrait had been disturbed again (most likely, Dora had run into the umbrella stand). I left the room just in time to see Sirius close the portrait's curtains. Then Mrs. Weasley called us to dinner.

We all came into the kitchen. I noticed Sirius immediately explaining the house to Harry and answering any questions he could. I couldn't help feeling slightly jealous. I'd felt an instant bond between Sirius and me, but seeing these two so close made me realize that the godson-godfather bond-in other words, their friendship-was obviously stronger. Mrs. Weasley gave us each a job (except for Harry, of course). We all cooked, set the table, and prepared to eat. Lupin and Mundungus joined us tonight. The meal was relatively normal: Dora did her nose transformations (and I noticed that she'd changed her purple hair to bubble-gum pink while she was on the journey) and everyone discussed what they could about the Order. Finally after desert, Sirius asked Harry the obvious question: "You know, I'm surprised at you. I thought the first thing you'd do when you got here would be to start asking questions about Voldemort." [*] That snapped everyone out of their sleepy trances. Harry blurted, "I did! I asked Ron and Hermione but they said we're not allowed in the Order, so-" [*] "And they're quite right," Mrs. Weasley said. "You're too young." [*] "Since when did someone have to be in the Order of the Phoenix to ask questions?" Sirius asked. "Harry's been trapped in that Muggle house for a month. He's got the right to know what's been happen-" [*] I put my head in my hand as the next few minutes turned into a cacophony of arguing. I felt a headache coming on. I tuned everything out until it had passed. Mrs. Weasley and Sirius still weren't happy with each other, however. "I think Harry ought to be allowed a say in this," Lupin said. "He's old enough to decide for himself." [**] "I want to know what's been going on," [**] Harry said immediately. So do the rest of us, I thought bitterly. But there's no way they'll tell us anything. We weren't in the graveyard the night Voldemort returned. Mrs. Weasley, admitting defeat again, told everyone who wasn't Harry to go to bed. We all began to protest. I was angered at her;

she was acting like she was my parent. I barely knew her. As the Weasley children worked on her, I looked at Dora. "Dora, tell her I can stay!" I exclaimed, thinking about how it wasn't Mrs. Weasley's decision. "I don't know Linds," she said as Mrs. Weasley yelled at her children and Hermione to go to bed. "Won't you tell me everything?" "I said, I don't-" "Don't I have the right to know?" I asked her, giving her a serious stare. "Considering...everything?" I could tell Sirius, Lupin, Bill, and Mr. Weasley were confused by what I'd just said, but Dora understood. She sighed. "Arthur...can Lindsey stay?" "Well..." Mr. Weasley said uncertainly. "Sure, she can," Sirius said. "Go on, sit down." I looked at him gratefully as Mrs. Weasley yelled, "Fine!" She'd given in and apparently let Fred, George, Ron, and Hermione stay. "Fine! Ginny-BED!" [***] Ginny left raging and woke up the portrait of Mrs. Black as she stormed up the steps as Mrs. Weasley turned and saw me. Her gaze shifted from me to Dora, and she said, "Tonks, are you sure? Shouldn't you get consent from your parents?" "What do you mean?" I asked somewhat harshly. "Well, she's just your sister! Are you sure her word is enough?" Mrs. Weasley asked me. "She's not your parents, is she?" "My parents wouldn't care," I said hotly. "Besides, Sirius said I could stay. His word is better than that of my parents anyway." Mrs. Weasley, fed up with the night's arguments, said, "Fine!" for the last time and sat down, giving Sirius a venomous look. I sighed, frustrated, not missing the looks of confusion that crossed Lupin's, Sirius's, Bill's, and Mr. Weasley's faces. Nobody knew why talking about my parents was such a touchy subject with me. "I still don't think-" Mrs. Weasley continued, causing Dora to sigh

and say, "Linds...I'm sorry, but I think you should go upstairs with Ginny." "But Dora, I'm fifteen; Ginny's not even that-" "This is not a matter of age," she said. "Please, just do as I say." "You're not my parent." But I stopped there. Sure, I felt hurt and betrayed, but I was making a fool out of myself. I wasn't the kind of person who made a scene. I looked at Dora, expecting some sort of signal or sign-I wink, I shrug, anything-that would indicate she would tell me later when we weren't in the presence of Mrs. Weasley. But her face was stone-cold. "Fine," I said, calmly but unhappily. "I'll go upstairs." I turned around and left, resisting the urge to slam the door. I began to stomp up the stairs, but remembered Mrs. Black's portrait and stopped. I dodged Kreacher on the way. He bowed to me once more, but I hardly took any notice. I pushed the bedroom door open forcefully, now that I was out of the portrait's way. Ginny was lying there on her bed, reading her magazine. She looked genuinely shocked to see me. "They sent you away too? I thought you were allowed!" "Well, I was, but my sister changed her mind." "Tonks? Really? She doesn't seem that type to me." "Well, she's not your sister." I flung myself onto the moldy blankets of my bed. "Sirius said I could stay, but that wasn't good enough for your mother. I mean...I'm sorry. That came out wrong." "Don't worry about it; I know what you mean. She can be really uptight." She called Mrs. Weasley a few more words that I wouldn't have said, yet I kind of felt like Dora fit in the same category tonight. Ginny and I found ourselves venting about our families forever, and how unfair we felt this was. After several minutes in which our anger was mostly gone, she said, "You know, I wonder what they're talking about. I wish those Extendable Ears would work." She sighed and turned a page in the magazine. "Should we theorize?" "What? Oh, I don't know. I'd hate to get a theory into my mind that ends up being totally off," I replied.

She sighed. "Good point. I think I'll beg Hermione to tell me. She might be too good-girl for that, though. Fred and George might!" she said brightly. "Although, they might just tease me about it. I hate being the youngest. Do you hate being the youngest child?" "Right now I do," I admitted. Unfortunately, we ended up theorizing anyway. None of it was very productive, but we thought that maybe Voldemort was secretly creating some ultimate magical artifact in order to turn everyone into Death Eaters. Sadly, that was the most intelligent of our theories. Hermione came into the room after the meeting looking annoyingly casual. "I wasn't going to ask," said Ginny. "I didn't say you were," said Hermione. "Is it over?" I asked. "Can I go back down?" "Yes, it's over." I knew I would have to leave soon, so I hurried down to say goodbye to Sirius, and also thank him for trying to let me listen. At least somebody was on my side. I almost ran into him on the stairs to the ground floor. Luckily I didn't, or Mrs. Black would have screamed at us. "Sorry!" I said. "No problem," he said. "Actually...follow me, will you?" He led me to the kitchen. Nobody was in there but Kreacher, so Sirius shooed him out. Then he turned to me. "I'm assuming you want to know what we talked about at the meeting." "Of course," I said. "I'm sorry you couldn't stay. Molly doesn't always understand." "A lot of people don't always understand," I said, but I was getting at a different meaning, one I couldn't say. "Well, I think you should know. You're part of the Order as much as Harry, Ron, and Hermione."

I shrugged. "Sit down. I'll tell you what we talked about. Oh, and...don't tell Tonks, okay?" I smiled. "The secret's safe." He launched into explanation. By the end I'd learned several things. For one, Voldemort tried to return unnoticed by anyone but his Death Eaters-Harry wasn't supposed to have survived. But because he did, his plans got flawed, and the fact that Dumbledore knows he's back was the last thing he wanted. Since Dumbledore found out, the Order was re-formed. Dumbledore also expected that Voldemort was trying to do what he did last time-build up his army with Death Eaters and Dark creatures. The Order was trying to prevent this by convincing more and more people to join them, but it wasn't easy with the Ministry ignoring the idea that he was back. Fudge was also frightened-and being a complete idiot in my opinionbecause he thought the whole thing was a plan to overthrow the Ministry so Dumbledore could become Minister of Magic. He thinks Dumbledore and Harry are plotting and making the whole thing up. Finally, Sirius said Voldemort was after some sort of weapon...something he didn't have last time he was powerful. "Not a word to Molly," he insisted. "I purposely slipped up in telling Harry and the others. You should know too. But Molly went ballistic, so you have to keep quiet." "I won't tell anyone," I promised. Suddenly the kitchen door burst open and Dora flew in. She had a surprised look on her face, and in seconds she understood what was going on. She sighed and rolled her eyes, saying, "I should have known. I suppose we can't keep a secret from you, can we, Linds?" I didn't find this joke funny at all. I was still feeling resentment toward her. "Oh, come on. It wasn't my decision to make in letting you stay." "Then whose decision was it? Mine, right? Certainly not my parents?" "Lindsey..."

"It doesn't matter, Dora. Sirius told me." "Right, well, come on, Linds. We're going home tonight." "Fine, but my stuff is upstairs. I need to get it." "I'll get it. Wait here," she said, and left. I sat back on the table and leaned back into my chair, thinking. "Lindsey," Sirius said, breaking me away from my thoughts. "I would...er...tell Miss Hotheaded Weasley everything I just said. She's part of this too. Like Tonks said, it's not a matter of age." "All right. I can do that," I told him. Then I lapsed back into my thoughtful state. Voldemort was after a weapon, but what was it? I stared down at the wooden table when Sirius's voice spoke. "Don't think about it too much. What comes in time just comes. The war will happen, Voldemort will be powerful, and we'll all have to fight." "I was just thinking about this weapon, actually," I said. He sighed. "Yes. There's so much more I wish I could tell you and Harry, but...you saw how Molly reacted tonight." I nodded and, looking at him, said, "You and Harry are really close, aren't you?" "Yes," Sirius said with a sad smile. "He reminds me so much of James." His gaze moved to the tabletop and he began to stare blankly at it like I'd been doing several seconds before. "Sirius, what exactly-" "What exactly happened on Halloween of 1981?" he asked. Once again I thought of that second-cousin telepathy thing. "It's a long story, but I'll tell you." He took a deep breath. "James was my best friend. In our Hogwarts days, we were always by each other's sides. We spent time getting in trouble, serving detention, torturing Snape, chasing girls..." A smile danced across his face for a split-second. "Remus and Peter Pettigrew were our friends as well. The four of us called ourselves the Marauders at school. You see...Remus is a werewolf, as I'm sure you know. Because of this, the rest of us went behind Dumbledore's back-we hated doing it, but we did-and we each became an Animagus. Unregistered, of course...it took years. But finally we

managed, and as animals we accompanied Remus to the Shrieking Shack each full moon." I gasped. "So that's why people think it's haunted? It was actually Lupin in his werewolf form? I never knew that!" "Yes, you're right. It was Remus as a werewolf, so we called him Moony. The rest of us had nicknames-I was Padfoot, as a dog; Peter was Wormtail, he was a rat; and James was Prongs, because he became a stag." He paused, and I said, "But what does any of this have to due with...you know." "It doesn't have to do with anything," Sirius said. "It just shows how close we were. Even after we graduated, we stayed close. Eventually, James married Lily Evans and they moved to Godric's Hollow. That's where Harry was born, and that's where Remus, Wormtail, and I visited several days out of the week. But then, Voldemort was becoming extremely powerful, so the Potters decided to use the Fidelius Charm on their home." "The Fidelius Charm?" I asked perplexedly. "It's where one person is Secret-Keeper, and only they can tell the location of the place being hidden. The Potters chose me as their Secret-Keeper, meaning nobody, not even Remus or Wormtail, could tell Voldemort where we were hidden. But at the last minute, the Potters changed their minds and made Wormtail Secret-Keeper." "That was a bad move, wasn't it?" "Yes. We always trusted Wormtail, but we knew he was a coward. Voldemort found him and forced the information out of him. Apparently he was going to kill him if he didn't give the information. Like I said, he was a coward. He chose to let James and Lily die rather than sacrifice himself for his friends. It didn't end well." He paused for a moment, and for a second I regretted ever asking him anything. It seemed so personal and I could tell he was getting emotional, but I'd wanted to hear the story from someone who was actually there. He continued... "Voldemort killed the Potters and tried to kill Harry, and of course that backfired. But then Wormtail made it seem like I was the one who betrayed them. He cut off his finger to make it look like he'd been killed, and then he transformed into a rat and hid. I was blamed and dragged off to Azkaban. It was the worst night of my life. I was locked up, my best friend was dead, Wormtail had

escaped, and I would live my whole life without knowing my godson." "But...but you did get to know Harry," I said. "And then...you said you escaped. But that's what doesn't make sense to me. Why didn't you escape sooner?" "That's the thing," Sirius said. "I, like the rest of the Wizarding community, thought that Wormtail was dead. I knew everyone believed I was a murderer. But I knew I was innocent, of course, and then I saw Wormtail in the Prophet. It was his picture-he was with the Weasley's. As a rat, he was their pet. Pathetic, right? That's how he hid. So I'd been waiting for the right moment to escape. There was no reason to go after nothing. I didn't want to be locked up, but I had to prove I was innocent somehow. That didn't work, though, as you know. But at least I'm free to some extent...of course, that doesn't take back the fact that James and Lily are dead." "I'm sorry," I said quietly, thinking of how hard it had been for him to tell that story. "I didn't mean...I wasn't trying to..." "That's okay," he said. "I figured you'd ask sooner or later, especially since Voldemort has returned. Anyway, you deserve the truth. The rest of the world still thinks I'm a murderer. And now I'm stuck here forever." I thought my life had some frustrating aspects, like the identity issue, but Sirius had it worse. Being locked up in a house he hated, not being able to leave for even the simplest thing, and being blamed for murdering couldn't be an ideal way to live. I didn't realize how late it was or how tired I was until Dora came in and told me we were leaving. "That took a while," I said to her, and though it was mostly a joke my tired voice made me sound annoyed. "Sirius told me a whole story while you were getting ready to leave." Sirius leaned back in his chair, crossed his arms, and smiled a mischievous, knowing smile. "You and Remus had a nice snog, I take it?" "I have no idea what you're talking about," Dora replied flatly. But she totally blushed. "Sirius, can we use the Floo?" I asked, moving toward the fireplace. "No, they're watching the Network," he said. "We can't let the Ministry know about Headquarters. You'll have to fly."

Dora and I sighed in unison. I could barely hang onto my broom due to fatigue, but on the way home I thought of Sirius's story...and how I wanted nothing more at that moment than to be able to Apparate home. End Notes: [*] From the American version of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, page 87 [**] page 90 [***] page 91 Sorry about those quotes. I did my best to put in a minimal amount and still have it sound okay. Back to index Chapter 14- Fifth Year Begins by Lyra Lestrange Author's Notes: Sorry about the wait, guys. I had to edit out quite a lot. ~Chapter 14- Fifth Year Begins~ We cleaned as much of Grimmauld Place as we could. The drawing room was full of doxies that needed to be exterminated, there was a boggart in the writing desk that Mrs. Weasley ended up facing, and the items that Sirius wanted to throw away were tossed out. This included several old family photos, the Black family china, and several dark-looking objects like a locket with a snake on it. Oddly, every time Sirius tossed out an old family possession without a second thought, Kreacher felt he needed to be around to save the most precious items and hide them to prevent Sirius from trashing them. Then there was the matter of Harry's hearing - he miraculously got off. We celebrated this one night and then, a few nights later, had a celebration for Ron and Hermione - both had been made prefects. Before any of us knew it, it was time to start school again. On the day we left, while everyone else was packing, I was talking to Sirius. He told me the plan. "We're recruiting part of the advance guard," he said. "For Harry." "Why?" I asked. "Voldemort's not going to ambush him at Kings Cross, is he? I thought he was trying to stay hidden." Sirius shrugged. "It's Mad-Eye's plan. You know how he is about

security and protection, being an ex-Auror and all. Luckily, though, I can go this time." "What do you mean? You can't leave this house, you'll get caught!" "Not if I'm like this," he said, and transformed into a dog. He jumped up, put his paws on my shoulders, and licked my face. "Augh, Sirius. Get down." I pushed him off. "You have dog breath." "Convincing, though, isn't it?" he asked, transforming back. "Nobody will know I'm really that supposed mass murderer." "I guess. So, how are we getting to Kings Cross anyway?" "We're walking. Arthur tried to get Ministry cars, but Fudge won't loan him anything these days. He already suspects Arthur is associated with Dumbledore, because of his Muggle obsession - " I interrupted him. "So who's coming?" "Tonks and Molly are taking Harry and I'm going with them. Arthur's taking Ron and Hermione, and Remus is taking the rest of the Weasleys. Mad-Eye's bringing the luggage and Sturgis is supposed to show up; we need another person...though he should be here right now, and I'm not sure where he is." "So...who am I going with?" "Oh!" Sirius smacked himself in the head. "I forgot about you! Oh, well. You'll just have to stay behind and live with me and Kreacher and my mother's portrait. Who needs Hogwarts, anyway?" He began to laugh at the horrified look on my face. I punched him in the arm, saying, "Sirius!" He stopped laughing. "Okay, you're going with Molly, Tonks, Harry, and me." I nodded just as a flustered Mrs. Weasley came out of the kitchen and called for everyone else, who were still packing upstairs. They hurried down within the next few seconds, carrying their trunks and pets. Mrs. Weasley, Harry, Sirius (otherwise known as Snuffles' in his dog form), and I walked down the street. An old woman with gray hair and a purple hat greeted us. "Wotcher, Harry, Linds," she said.

Dora! Why was she disguised as an old woman? For the guard? Well, it was certainly strange. I was sure she wouldn't have transformed into that unless she really, really had to. As we walked, Sirius snapped at and chased pigeons, causing Harry, Dora, and I to laugh. Mrs. Weasley, on the other hand, looked at him disapprovingly. Twenty minutes later, we arrived at Kings Cross. After getting onto Platform 9 as usual, we stood in front of the Hogwarts Express, waiting for the others. Mad-Eye emerged first with the luggage. He looked different with a hat pulled over his magical eye. Then Mr. Weasley came in with Ron and Hermione, shortly followed by Lupin with Fred, George, and Ginny. "Well, look after yourselves," [*] Lupin said, giving us each a handshake. "Yeah, keep your head down and your eyes peeled," [*] Moody said. "And don't forget, all of you - careful what you put in writing. If in doubt, don't put it in a letter at all." Dora said goodbye to everyone and gave hugs to Ginny and Hermione. When she reached me, she said, "Take care, Linds. Write to me. You do have your journal, right?" "Yes. I'll tell you if anything strange happens." "Great." She pulled me into a hug. "I'll see you over break." The train whistled. "Go on, you don't want to miss it," Dora said. "I know, but...hang on." I turned away from everyone and walked over to Sirius. "Sirius...It's been nice meeting you," I told him in a quiet voice, patting his head and hoping I simply looked like a girl saying goodbye to her dog. "I hope to see you soon." He barked in reply. "Linds!" Dora shouted as the train began to move. "I have to go," I said. I turned away from him and hurried onto the train, waving to everybody. I looked out the window and saw Sirius chasing us until we turned the corner.

I sighed. Here I was again, in the same old situation with no one to sit by or talk to. I'd really enjoyed the company of Sirius all summer, and even Harry, Hermione, and the Weasleys. At least I'd had a chance to get to know them better. But I was alone again. There weren't any empty compartments, so I ended up sitting with three first year girls at the back of the train. The trip was not quiet. One of the girls was extremely chatty and once I began to give her the general rundown of Hogwarts, she wouldn't shut up. "So, what house are you in?" she asked. "What year? Who's your favorite teacher? What subjects do you take? My older sister is in fourth year and she takes Divination and Muggle Studies. Do you take Divination? Do you like Divination? I really want to take it but I'm not in third year yet. But I know about it because my sister told me stuff. My sister's a witch just like me and my mum. My dad's a wizard, of course. I'm a pureblood. What's your blood status? Sorry, what house did you say you were in?" "Um...I didn't get a chance to say," I said, keeping the annoyance out of my voice. "But I'm in Gryffindor." "Ooh, Gryffindor! That's the house for brave people, isn't it? I'd love to be in Gryffindor! But Ravenclaw would be nice, because I'm really, really smart...or Hufflepuff, because I like badgers! But, ooh, Slytherin would also be fun because snakes are really cool! And their colors are green and silver! I love green and silver! What are your favorite colors...?" And so it went. I could never even answer all of her questions because she talked so fast. At least I got to snack on Chocolate Frogs and usual. But then she asked about the collectable cards which led to more questions... I had a splitting headache by the time we arrived at Hogwarts. As soon as the train stopped, I dashed out of the compartment. I had to get away from the girl. At least the other two had been quiet. Then again, they never really got a chance to talk because the other one never stopped. So much for wanting company. Maybe having no one to talk to wasn't so bad. Hogwarts was as welcoming as ever. As soon as I caught sight of the lake and the brilliant castle, I felt that usual feeling that coming back here gave me (with the exception of one thing - Hagrid wasn't

here to escort the first years across the lake). The inside was as just as magnificent as well with the shining entrance hall and candlelit Great Hall. I found my place near the other Gryffindors in my year. Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Neville were seated halfway down the table with Lavender and Parvati. Seeing Neville and the two girls was nice, considering I hadn't seen them in two months. But then I remembered how Lavender and I had fought at the end of the year about Voldemort's return. That's when another thought hit me - though Dumbledore had told us about Voldemort at the end of the year, Fudge and several other people didn't believe him. So how many students in this hall believed the truth? How many believed the Daily Prophet? The usual Sorting Ceremony took place, followed by the feast. Like everyone else, I was starving. Eventually, Dumbledore came up to give his usual announcement. He gave the basic rundown: that the forest was off-limits, Filch's reminder about no magic in the corridors, staffing changes, and the Quidditch tryouts. But as he was saying this... "...Tryouts for the House Quidditch teams will take place on the - " [**] "Hem hem," [**] someone coughed. It was Professor Umbridge, the new D.A.D.A. teacher. She stood up as we all went silent. Why had she interrupted Dumbledore? My mind drifted back to something Harry had said before the Sorting: Umbridge worked for Fudge at the Ministry and had been at his hearing. I looked at her, frowning slightly. She was extremely short and looked like a toad. She had short brown hair and wore a ghastly fluffy pink cardigan. "Thank you, Headmaster," she said as Dumbledore sat down. "For those kind words of welcome." [**] I hated her already. Her voice was high pitched and childish, and interrupting Dumbledore's annual speech was just...unheard of. It was difficult to focus on the speech. I was too busy thinking about getting comfortable in Gryffindor Tower. I picked up bits and pieces, but couldn't put a puzzle together. Hermione obviously did, based on her attentive expression. As much as I wished I had the mindset to understand this Umbridge lady, everything went in one ear and out the other for me.

I was happy to be dismissed to Gryffindor Tower. Like the rest of the school, the common room and dormitories were as welcoming as ever. I climbed into bed tiredly, thinking about classes the next day. "What a gargoyle!" I shot up from my bed. "Hermione?" I asked. Hermione stood by her bed, pacing angrily. "Not only is she corrupting Hogwarts, she's going to ruin our education! And this is O.W.L. year! How will we learn Defense Against the Dark Arts with that hag teaching it?" "Is that what she was saying?" I asked. "Yes! The Ministry is interfering here at Hogwarts!" "Oh," I said. That's all I could say. I was lucky Hermione was there to explain it to me, since at dinner I'd found Fred Weasley's animated napkin of Filch dancing with Mrs. Norris distracting and much more entertaining. "We'll have to be on watch," Hermione said. "Let it go," Parvati complained from across the room. "It's late and I'd like to sleep." "Yeah, let's turn the light out," said Lavender. While I agreed, my mind wandered to what Hermione had said. If Umbridge was like that with her speech, how would her classes be? During a time like this, we needed a really good teacher to teach us to defend ourselves...but it sounded like the Ministry was trying to prevent that exact thing from happening.

When I woke up the next morning, the realization of a new year hit me. Tired but slightly excited to receive my schedule, I dressed and went to the Great Hall. As I helped myself to toast, Professor McGonagall handed them out. Aw. History of Magic, double Potions, Divination, and double Defense Against the Dark Arts all in one day - Monday, of course. Those were all the worst classes combined into one (well, with

D.A.D.A., it varied. It just depended on who was teaching. But I could tell I was going to hate Umbridge, but whether it was because of her high-pitched voice, toad-like face, atrocious pink outfits, or something else, I couldn't tell). History of Magic and Potions ended up behind the same as they always were, if not worse. I was happy to go to lunch. Two classes into the new term and the homework load had already become a nightmare. Snape and Binns each assigned an essay so I hoped the other teachers wouldn't give out much. This was, obviously, wishful thinking, because Professor Trelawney gave us a dream diary as homework and I was positive Umbridge would give us some long essay or spellbook reading. With her, nobody knew. After Divination, the Gryffindors entered the classroom that had belonged to so many D.A.D.A. teachers before. Everyone was quiet. Umbridge sat at the front wearing her pink cardigan, smiling in an extremely annoying way. This was already torture.

"Theory!" Hermione shrieked in the common room later that night. "Theoretical knowledge only? Who does she think she is?" "A Ministry official sent here to bring Dumbledore down. Who else?" said Ron. "And now Harry's in detention for telling the truth! I just can't believe it!" Hermione went on. "Maybe we'll learn something," I heard Neville mutter. He was sitting on the couch next to my chair. "But we won't know how to use it! Ugh, this is stressing me out," Hermione said, putting her face in her hands. If the Or - if they - if Snuffles and the rest knew, what would they think?" "I can ask!" I said brightly, standing up and preparing to run to the dormitory to retrieve my journal. "You can?" Hermione asked. "How?" "I can contact Dora through this journal she gave me." Neville had a confused look on his face. "Is there something I'm missing here?" he asked. But Hermione was too excited to answer. "Oh, right, your Messaging Journal! You should get it and talk to her!"

"I'll go now." I dashed upstairs and brought it back to my chair. Hoping Dora was around and not on some Order mission, I wrote in that hot pink journal for the first time in months: Dora? I waited for about ten minutes, during which I worked on my Potions essay. When my journal began to vibrate, I opened it and read: What is it? I have a lot to tell you. You're not too busy, are you? No. Well, we have a new D.A.D.A. teacher and she's from the Ministry and everything, and apparently they think Dumbledore and Harry are nuts for the whole Voldemort thing. You know how it goes. Well, they've devised a new curriculum and it's all theoretical. So I've heard. And please don't write his name! Give it up. Sirius and Remus say it, and it's really stupid to be scared of a word. Don't write their names here! What if someone finds this entry? Remember what Mad-Eye said about putting things into writing? The entry will erase when we close the journals. But I'm not here to talk about journal entries. I'm here to tell you about what happened in class today. And so I told her every little detail about the afternoon's events. When I'd finished writing, she wrote: Well, it's awful that they're only teaching you theory, but there's honestly nothing I can do. I wish I could help more, but the Order top secret business is taking up most of my time. I paused before writing my next comment. I wasn't quite sure what I was feeling at the moment, but after admitting it, I wrote: Well, I guess I'm just...scared. I don't know what's coming, and I want to be prepared. A theoretical knowledge isn't enough, and well...I don't know...I just wish some insane solution would suddenly appear, I guess... Hang in there. You never know. I know the Ministry's being stupid,

but bear with it. Pick up what you can from the theoretical stuff and...hey Linds, I have to go. Duty calls. I closed the journal somewhat angrily. She was so busy now with the Order! But I guess that's just how it was when it came to fighting the Dark Side. "What did she say?" Hermione asked after I'd thrown the book on the floor. "To hang in there," I groaned. A stressed look crossed Hermione's face. "Well, there has to be a way..." "I don't know." "I'll look into something. Maybe the library will give me ideas." "I hate to say this, Hermione, but I don't know if you're going to find the answer to this one in a book," I said with a sigh. Yet, though I didn't know it at the time, there was the chance that an insane solution would suddenly appear from out of nowhere. End Notes: [*] Quote taken from the American version of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, page 182 [**] page 211 Thanks for reading! Want to write a review? You're already here, and it only takes a few seconds... Back to index Chapter 15- Hermione's Idea by Lyra Lestrange Author's Notes: Sorry for the shortness! The next chapter is kind of long, and this one doesn't fit with it so I couldn't combine them. ~Chapter 15- Hermione's Idea~ If Umbridge's classes were bad enough, her appointment as High Inquisitor to Hogwarts could surely only make things ten times worse. The Ministry had passed a decree that gave Umbridge the power to inspect other teachers. The Order didn't appear to be having much luck, either. Not only had Sirius been spotted, but Sturgis Podmore had been arrested for trying to break through a door in the Ministry. I had no idea why he

was trying to break through in the first place. I hadn't heard from any of the Order since I'd talked to Dora over our journals. As the days went on, more and more classes were being inspected, like Transfiguration and Care of Magical Creatures. Umbridge was obviously enjoying her power as well. She was probably preparing to sack as many teachers as she could, and soon. Finally, the first Hogsmeade weekend was approaching. At least it was something to look forward to and a way to get away from Umbridge. I sat around one night in the common room supposedly doing my homework, but I was actually daydreaming about the number of sugar quills I was going to buy that weekend. I planned my day out in my head as I stared at the single paragraph I'd written for my Charms essay, deciding I'd go to the Three Broomsticks before heading to Honeydukes. That's when Hermione approached me with some news. "Hey, Lindsey..." she said. I looked up from my essay. "What is it?" "Well...I hate to bother you right now, considering you're doing your homework, but...well, you know how Umbridge is about teaching us Defense Against the Dark Arts, and I have an idea. I've...well, I've sort of, in a way, convinced Harry to teach anyone who wants to learn real defense. You know what he's done, what he's fought. Would you be interested in learning? I'm trying to recruit people." There was that insane solution that appeared out of nowhere! "Of course I'd be interested," I answered. "Voldemort's at large and all the Ministry's doing is having us learn from a stupid textbook! Count me in." "Okay!" she said, smiling. "We're meeting in Hogsmeade this weekend. Just so that we don't attract attention, we're meeting in...well, the Hog's Head. You know, that pub that's kind of out of the way?" "All right," I told her. "I'll be there." "Great!" And with that said, she went to talk to Dean and Neville, surely about the same topic.

When the weekend arrived and everyone went to Hogsmeade, I went straight to the Hog's Head. It wasn't very welcoming; the floor

was blanketed in a layer of dust, the windows were covered in grime, and the place smelled like goats. Nonetheless, I found Harry, Ron, and Hermione sitting at a table in a corner, each with a dusty bottle of butterbeer. "Hi," I said as I approached. "Hi!" Hermione said. "You're the first one here, obviously. Why not get a drink and have a seat?" I nodded and walked over to the barman to order a butterbeer. As I walked, I took my time noticing the people in the pub. One was a man with his head wrapped in gray bandages, another a largenosed witch in a long black veil. Their appearance certainly went along with the pub's atmosphere. I took a seat at the table with the other three. I decided to ask Hermione how she came up with the idea, and her response was somewhat shocking and even irritating to me... "Well, we were talking to Sirius in the fire the other night," she said, causing me to slap my hand on the table and say, "You talked to-" "Shhhhh!" "Sirius?" I finished in a whisper. "Yes," she said quietly. "Actually, he talked to us; he'd been waiting for us..." "Why didn't you get me?" I asked. "I haven't heard from him since school started and if I'd known he was in the common room the other night I would've-" "Lindsey, I'm sorry," Hermione told me. "We didn't think to get you; didn't want to draw attention. Point is, he gave me the idea." Several minutes later, the other people Hermione had invited began to come in. First was Neville, Dean, and Lavender; followed by Parvati and her Ravenclaw twin sister Padma; then Cho Chang and one of her friends (I think her name was Marietta Edgecombe); Luna Lovegood; Angelina Johnson, Alicia Spinnet, and Katie Bell from the Gryffindor Quidditch team; two younger Gryffindors, Colin and Dennis Creevey; four Hufflepuffs, Ernie Macmillan, Justin FinchFletchley, Hannah Abbott, and Susan Bones; three Ravenclaw boys, Anthony Goldstein, Michael Corner, and Terry Boot; Ginny; a Hufflepuff Quidditch player named Zacharias Smith; and lastly, Fred and George with their friend, Lee Jordan.

By the end, we all agreed to swear to keep it secret from everyone who wasn't in the group. Fred was the first to sign Hermione's sheet of paper. Several people were uncertain, such as Zacharias and Marietta, but they eventually signed. When the parchment reached me, I scribbled my name without hesitation and handed to the next person, Zacharias Smith, who decided to sign in the end. After that, we all left. As I exited the bar and walked down the street to Honeydukes, I felt that this was really what we needed. Harry, who had actually been there and had to fight the Dark Arts, was going to teach us. I knew that if Umbridge caught us, we could get in trouble, but there wasn't a rule against forming a society like this one. It was, if anything, a kind of study group. Unfortunately for us, however, when Monday arrived, a new notice had been put up that caused a slight flaw in the plan. Hanging in the Gryffindor common room the next day was a new educational decree. Umbridge had banned any unauthorized organizations. As soon as I saw this, I felt the color drain from my face. Did she know about the society we'd formed in Hogsmeade? If so, how? I approached Harry about it later, but didn't get any answers. "Harry, the sign-" I asked. "I know." "So are we still-" "Yes, but I don't know where..." he said. "I'll...I'll get back to you if...if the answer comes." "Oh...all right."

Apparently the answer came, because Hermione ran up to me in the common room one day and said, "Lindsey, Harry says he's found a place for everyone to meet tonight." "Great, where is it?" I asked, slamming my Herbology book shut in excitement. "It's the Room of Requirement. It's on the seventh floor across from that tapestry of Barnabas the Barmy getting attacked by trolls. It should appear if you concentrate hard enough."

"All right. Thanks, Hermione."

At half past seven I left the common room and went to the place Hermione had described. At first there was just a stretch of blank stone wall, but after thinking hard enough about what was inside, a door appeared. Inside was a dungeon-like room with a shelf of defense-related books, silk cushions, and several Dark Detectors. Harry, Ron, Hermione, Ginny, Neville, Lavender, Parvati, and Dean were already there. "Hi, Lindsey," Hermione said. "I see you found us." "Yeah, it was easy." The door opened and several other people flowed in. I took a seat on a cushion in the back near the bookcase. Within the next few minutes, everyone else had arrived and taken their seats. Harry explained a few things, like what the room was and what the Dark Detectors did. We even came up with a name: Dumbledore's Army, named because it was the Ministry's worst fear. Hermione got out the piece of paper with everyone's names on it and wrote Dumbledore's Army' in giant letters across the top. Then, after she sat down, Harry got ready to teach the Disarming Charm. "Okay. I reckon we should all divide into pairs and practice." [*] My heart sank. Of course, the first thing everyone did was pair up as quick as they could. I noticed we had an odd number. I would undoubtedly be the one left alone. I was right. Everyone I considered for a partner was chosen quickly. The last four-Luna, Zacharias, Neville, and Harry-divided into pairs: Luna with Zacharias and Neville with Harry. Nobody noticed me in the corner, so I decided to sit on the cushion and watch, trying to blend in with the wall. Luna noticed me, however, and said, "Harry, we'll have one group of three. Lindsey can join us." "Oh-right," Harry said, noticing I was in the corner. Slightly embarrassed, I joined Luna and Zacharias. I was partially grateful that Luna had wanted me to join her, but also disappointed because Zacharias was bound to be extremely critical.

Harry counted us off and Expelliarmus' chorused through the room. Luna faced Zacharias and said the incantation. His wand gave a feeble twitch but didn't leave his hand. "Is that the best you can do?" he snarled to her. "Give her a break, it's the first meeting," I told him. "Like you could do any better?" he asked, turning to me. "Let's see you try." I pointed my wand at him, and with all my might, shouted, "Expelliarmus!" A jet of red light hit him and his wand flew out of his hand, hitting the ground with a clatter. He stared at me, flabbergasted. To my right, I heard Harry say, "Wow, Lindsey. That was great!" I looked over and noticed he'd left Neville to observe the other groups. He had a satisfied smile on his face and knew it was because Zacharias had been dumbfounded. I smiled at him as thanks and he walked away to check on the other groups. By the end of the meeting, Zacharias had successfully Disarmed Luna and me several times; Luna had done her best, but hadn't quite got the hang of it. Honestly, I felt I'd been the best out of us three, and was about to rub it in Zacharias's face but then Harry dismissed us and Zacharias hurried off. As I left, I felt I'd finally achieved what I'd wanted. Though we were starting simple, true Defense Against the Dark Arts was being taught. There was a satisfying feeling that came with casting spells of any kind. For once I remembered that power I'd felt surging through my wand when I'd learned about the Unforgivable Curses. Now, I would be learning about how to fight that kind of magic. I gripped my wand tightly in my hand. It was almost too easy. End Notes: *Quote taken from the American Version of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, page 392

Review, si'l vous plait?! Back to index Chapter 16- Christmas at Grimmauld Place by Lyra Lestrange Author's Notes: This may be my favorite chapter so far. Tell me what you think!

~Chapter 16- Christmas at Grimmauld Place~ The months leading up to December were bittersweet. Umbridge had, of course, created new decrees and was inspecting more and more teachers, but the D.A. was still on. Hermione had cleverly created fake Galleons so that we would know the date of the next meeting, and while it was a shock to feel the coin burn in my pocket, after recovering I began to get excited. The only thing that disturbed me slightly was that the Death Eaters' Dark Marks did the same thing, only they were burned in their skin instead of on a coin. Hagrid also returned. His first lesson was on thestrals-skeletal winged creatures that you could only see if you'd seen someone die. Only three people in our class could see them: Harry, Neville, and a Slytherin who I recognized as Theodore Nott. Anything Umbridge-related made up the bitter parts of school leading up to Christmas. The sweet part was the D.A. meetings, which were becoming increasingly more interesting. We had one meeting left before the holiday break began, and up until that point we'd learned the Impediment Jinx, Stunning, and the Reductor Curse. Then, just before the break began, Harry and the Weasleys mysteriously disappeared from Hogwarts. On the day of their disappearance, Neville claimed Harry had had a nightmare the previous night and they had to leave for some reason. "Neville, what exactly happened?" I asked him in the common room as soon as I got the chance. "I don't know...it was strange," he replied. "Harry had a fit, woke up, got sick, and went to the headmaster. He didn't come back, nor did the Weasleys. Harry claimed he saw Mr. Weasley get attacked by a snake and he was positive it wasn't a dream." I couldn't get this off my mind as I waited for break to come. If it had anything to do with the Order of the Phoenix, I might be able to find out what it was. Therefore, as soon as I got off the Hogwarts Express when break began, I found Dora immediately and said, rather demandingly, "What happened to the Weasleys?" "Er...wotcher, Linds," she replied. "I missed you too." "Sorry," I mumbled. "I've just been curious. Do you know anything?" "Well, yes. But I'll explain when we get home." We took the Floo Network back home. It was strange being back. I

hadn't been home in so long because the last of my summer was spent with the Order. But the warm atmosphere was comforting. As soon as Dora and I walked through the door, Ted greeted us. "Lyra, good to see you," he said. "Good to see you," I replied as I hung my cloak on the coat rack. "I've missed being here." "How's school?" he asked. I shrugged. "Well, Umbridge has been taking over as I'm sure you've heard. It's horrible, but I've managed, because, well..." I trailed off, not wanting to give away the secret D.A. meetings. "Where's Andromeda? How's she been?" I asked, quickly changing the subject. "Worried, as usual," Ted answered. "She's in the kitchen." I nodded as Ted turned to Dora. "It was nice of you to come home for Christmas," he told her. "Well, I'm only here until dinner," she told him. "After that I'm heading for Grimmauld Place and then St. Mungo's - " "St. Mungo's?" I interjected. "So the snake attack really happened?" She sighed. "Yes. I suppose I did promise to tell you the story." Andromeda walked out of the kitchen at that moment. "Lyra!" she exclaimed. "It's wonderful to see you! Your presents are in your room. I'm making dinner right now, so you can open them while it's cooking." "Thanks," I said, and headed upstairs, motioning for Dora to follow. She entered my room with me. It was just as I'd left it, only there was a small pile of presents on my bed. "So," I said. "Tell me what happened." "Okay!" she exclaimed aggressively. "But don't expect much, I don't know the whole story myself!" "Yeah, well tell me what you do know!" I said, getting more and more irritated each second. "All right. Harry saw Mr. Weasley get attacked by a snake. He's in St. Mungo's now, and he's alive, but he's taking lots of treatments. Harry and the Weasley children were sent to Grimmauld Place to

stay until they got to visit St. Mungo's. Now the Order's trying to work out why Harry saw the attack." "So that's it?" "That's all I know," she said. I began to fiddle with the ribbon on one of my presents. Without looking at her, I said, "Dora, you didn't say where Mr. Weasley was when he was attacked." She sighed. "I can't tell you where he was. That's Order business." I glared at her. "You know, you used to tell me everything. But ever since you joined that stupid Order, it's like...I don't know...you think you're so much older than you really are. You're the youngest one there, if you hadn't noticed." She glared back and crossed her arms. "I'm not a child, Lyra. The Order is important, and I can't tell you secrets about it as if it were a matter of teenage gossip! You-Know-Who is at large, the Ministry is denying it, and all you care about is that I won't tell you Order secrets! Maybe there's a reason I don't tell you! Have you ever thought about that? You're just a - you're not - " "I'm not a child, Dora! I'll be of age in two years - " "Yes, and that's still two years!" "But I think I have the right to these things, Dora!" "Why?" she snapped harshly. "Why do you think you should get to know information that belongs to a secret society of wizards and witches who've actually come of age?" "Because of who I am! You don't understand! Voldemort is backdon't flinch! And if something happens and the Death Eaters break out of Azkaban, what will I do? Do you realize how much danger I'll be in? That's why I want to know! That's why forming this secret defense society - " Oops. "What?" "I...I didn't mean anything! It was Hermione's idea, because Umbridge wasn't teaching us anything, and Harry agreed to teach us! It's called Dumbledore's Army..."

To my surprise, she relaxed a bit. "Hmmm. If Harry's teaching you, you could learn a lot. Though it's wrong and against school rules, well...better expelled and prepared then sitting in school protected but clueless." "Exactly." "Well, listen...don't tell anyone I told you this, especially Molly, but Arthur was at the Ministry when he got attacked. I can't tell you why." "I understand." "Dinner!" came Andromeda's voice from downstairs. "Come on, let's eat," Dora said.

Dora left after dinner, and afterwards the house became unusually quiet. Ted, Andromeda, and I sat silently in the armchairs as the fire crackled brightly in the fireplace. I'd almost forgotten that Dora had her own place now. However, she wasn't there at the moment. She'd gone to St. Mungo's to visit Mr. Weasley with the rest of the Order. "She's coming to get you later, you know," Ted said. "Why?" I asked, confused. She hadn't mentioned anything about coming back home. "She's taking you to Grimmauld Place. I guess they're having a celebration there." I nodded slowly, staring at the fire as Ted got up and left. My gaze moved to Andromeda. Her eyes were clouded, indicating deep thought. She almost looked confused or even sad. "Andromeda?" I asked softly. "Yes?" She turned her head to look at me. "Er...is something wrong?" "No," she muttered, her eyes still looking glazed. "I was just...thinking..." She stared straight ahead again. Then she said, "I guess I was just daydreaming. Thinking about...the past."

"The past? Why?" She sighed. "I overheard your argument with Nymphadora earlier today." "Oh...yeah, we were kind of loud." "Well...I heard you mention your parents. It just got me thinking..." "About what?" She sighed again. "I was just thinking about Christmases past with my sisters, I guess," she admitted solemnly. "I know I shouldn't be. I betrayed them; they betrayed me, and yet...they're my sisters. But I lost them both...and so I worry every single day that something might happen to Nymphadora. She's doing all sorts of dangerous things..." I was stunned. She was thinking of Narcissa and Bellatrix? I found my voice and said, "Do you think, just maybe, you could tell me a story? Just one? You don't have to unless you really want to, but I would love to hear one." She smiled at me. "Maybe one." I clasped my hands together and looked at her expectantly. If anything, I noticed her voice seemed slightly more enthusiastic. "What you have to understand, Lyra," Andromeda said, "is that your mother wasn't always like she is now. At one time, we were actually close. She shook her head. "That changed, obviously, but one time when we were young, we decided to play a prank on Ciss - Narcissa. She was only five. I was seven and Bella was nine. We - " "Bella?" I asked. She instantly flushed red. "Yes, well, that's what we called her. The three of us had pet names, you see." "And you still refer to her as Bella even though you parted ways?" "Er...no. Anyway, she was nine and I was seven. It was dark and cold one Christmas Eve, and there was a foot of snow on the ground. Bellatrix and I went outside and each grabbed a snowball. We brought it in and quietly crept into Cissy's - I mean Narcissa's room. She was sleeping quietly, of course. We pulled back her covers and put the snowballs next to her - she was on her side. Then we rolled her on top of them and she woke up suddenly from the cold."

She was smiling and barely focusing on me anymore. Her eyes looked dreamy again. "She was mad at us, but laughed because she thought it was a good prank. But we were being too loud, which woke our dad. He came into Narcissa's room and found the wet blankets. The snowball had melted, of course. He punished her for wetting the bed." "That's awful," I said. "Did you and Bellatrix take the blame?" "We tried, but Dad wouldn't lift the punishment. The two of us felt so bad we gave her all of our chocolate from Aunt Walburga and Uncle Orion. You know, Sirius's parents. She seemed to think that was fair enough." It was comforting, somehow, to know that the sisters hadn't always been that distant. It was also nice knowing that Bellatrix hadn't always been as evil as she became. But another part of me, deep down, could recognize the fact that Andromeda had never really given up. It seemed like she had a false trace of hope that her sisters may communicate with her again. Nonetheless, the story had given me a tiny amount of information. But it only led to more questions. "Andromeda, can't you tell me what happened with my parents? I just think..." I stopped because she was shaking her head. "Not today, Lyra." "Why?" I demanded. "They're my parents; why can't I know?" "I just don't think it's the right time," she said. "Then when will you tell me? Or will you? Will I have to get the information from somebody else?" "It's just not the right time." Frustrated, I leaned back in my chair. I thought I'd come close again, but apparently I hadn't. When would I get to know the full story? I felt I needed something to vent my anger, but right then Dora walked through the front door. "Lyra, are you ready to go to Grimmauld Place?" she asked. "Sure," I said, forgetting everything for a moment. I stood up and walked toward the crackling fire, reaching for a handful of green powder in the flower pot. I was about to throw it into the fire when

Dora said, "We can't use the Floo, remember? The Ministry's watching the Network and they could trace us to Headquarters." Aggressively throwing the powder back into the pot, I said, "I guess we're flying then." "It's the only way we won't be tracked." She handed me my Comet Two-Sixty and we walked out the door, saying goodbye to Andromeda as we went. Then we began to fly through the frigid sky. Once we reached Grimmauld Place, I was frozen to my broom. I could barely move as I entered the house, following Dora. Inside it was much warmer and festive-looking. "Lindsey!" Sirius exclaimed as he came down the stairs. "I thought I heard someone. It's great to see you. Come into the kitchen, both of you, and warm up." The thought of the warm fire was the only thing on my mind as we went to the kitchen. Mrs. Weasley was in there cooking. When she saw me, she exclaimed, "Lindsey! How nice to see you again!" "Hi, Mrs. Weasley. How's Mr. Weasley?" I asked as I pulled of my cloak and curled up by the fire. Sirius said something about attending to Buckbeak and left with Dora behind him. He seemed happier than usual, probably because of the company. "He's fine," Mrs. Weasley answered with a sigh. "But he's been messing around with Muggle remedies. We went to visit him today." "Yes, I heard." "Oh!" Mrs. Weasley said suddenly. "I forgot; I have something for you." She walked over to the table, grabbed the single present that was sitting there, and handed it to me. "Thanks," I said shyly before ripping off the paper. Inside was a hand-knitted sweater, purple with a silver L on it. Inwardly grateful that both of my names started with L so it wouldn't be awkward wearing this, I thanked her again. "Oh, it was no problem," she said. "By the way, the others are upstairs if you want to say hi." "Okay," I replied, deciding at that moment that I was warmed up

enough. I went upstairs to the bedroom I shared with Ginny and Hermione to find that Dora had brought everything up already. The others weren't in there, though, so I quickly changed into my new sweater and went to Harry's and Ron's bedroom. Everyone was there - Harry, Ron, Hermione, Fred, George, and Ginny. "Hi, Lindsey!" Hermione said brightly. "I see Mum made you a sweater too," said Ron. "Yeah. I didn't realize all of you were here." "Well, I was on a ski trip with my parents, but I decided to come here after Mr. Weasley got attacked," Hermione said. I nodded my head and said, "I heard you visited him today." "Yes, and he's fine," Fred said. "But he experimented with those Muggle things-what were they called, Hermione?" George asked. "Stitches," Hermione replied. "Yes. Mum threw a fit," said Fred. "But you know how Dad is about Muggle things, right?" George asked. "Oh!" Ginny exclaimed. "Lindsey, you won't believe who we saw at St. Mungo's!" "Who?" I asked curiously. "Professor Lockhart!" "Lockhart?" I asked. "How's his memory?" "Not any better," Ron said. "Well, a little. He still tried to give us autographs." He rolled his eyes. I laughed and said jokingly, "Did you see anyone else there?" They immediately exchanged dark glances. Hermione finally said, "Well, yeah...we did. We saw Neville there with his grandmother. They were in the same ward as Lockhart, visiting Neville's parents. You see...his parents were tortured into insanity by Voldemort's

Death Eaters." "Oh." That was all I could say. My mind drifted back to the Yule Ball last year, and I remembered how Neville said he lived with his grandmother. "So did they say - ?" I pressed on, but the door opened and Sirius came in. "Lindsey," he said. "Yes?" He motioned for me to come with him. I left the room and followed him to the drawing room. Once we were inside, I noticed a long, thin package lying on the floor. "I never got a chance to give you your present," he said. "So here it is." "Oh. Thanks," I told him. I kneeled down on the floor and began to rip at the paper. Immediately I knew what it was. It excited me, but I was also confused. However, once I'd ripped off the paper, I gasped. I wasn't expecting one that good. "How - why - Sirius!" I exclaimed. "It was nothing," he said. "You deserve it. I knew you didn't like flying here, and a Comet Two-Sixty can only go so fast, so I figured that since you can't Apparate yet, this will at least get you places faster." I ran my hands over the handle. I'd known it was a broomstick from the beginning, but I didn't expect it to be this elaborate. A Nimbus, maybe, but not a Firebolt. It was the best model they had. As I slid my hands up and down the handle and rubbed my thumb against the broom's name, I felt confused again. "Why?" I asked. Sirius laughed his bark-like laugh. "Why not?" "Did you only get this so that I could get home faster?" I asked. "Not really," he said. "I thought I owed you. I got Harry a Firebolt for Christmas in his third year." "Oh," I said, my happiness fading. He was just trying to get even.

"Is there a problem with it?" "No," I said. "But I don't play Quidditch. Sirius, did you only get me this because you wanted me to feel I was...I don't know...equally important to you as Harry was...or something?" He paused. "No. But I could tell you were jealous. Tonks has told me about you, Lindsey. She says you don't have many friends. I wanted to show you I was your friend." "Oh," I said again, feeling lame. Then I felt a sudden surge inside me and at that moment I wanted to spill my secret to him and tell him exactly who I was. "Do you like it?" "Yeah," I said. "Thanks. It means a lot. I know these brooms aren't cheap." He smiled. "Well, I'm glad. Hey, I have to go." I smiled and nodded as he left. As soon as the door closed I admired the Firebolt for a few seconds, but then I remembered the tapestry of the family tree was in this room and I was drawn to it again. I traced the family ties with my eyes as I thought. If only I could tell Sirius. It would be so much easier... CRACK. A loud noise filled the room and I screamed. Turning around to face the center, I saw Kreacher in the middle. "Kreacher!" I exclaimed. "What are you doing?" "Kreacher was coming to clean, miss. Kreacher lives to serve the Noble and Most Ancient House of Black." "So I've heard." "Oh. Master Sirius bought you a broomstick?" Kreacher asked, eyeing my new Firebolt. "Yes." "Master Sirius wouldn't have bought that for you if he knew who you really was," Kreacher said. "Oh, no. He didn't like his cousin, did he?" My whole body froze. "Kreacher...what did you just say?" He smiled a sly, wicked smile. "Kreacher knows who you is, miss.

Kreacher knows everything about the Black family. You is the daughter of Miss Bella, yes. Kreacher knows these things." "But...how do you know that?" I asked, swallowing hard. "Kreacher could tell. Kreacher saw it in your eyes. Kreacher saw it in your face. You look just like Miss Bella, yes, you does. Oh, but you look much like the Lestrange boy as well, oh yes." "Is it that obvious?" I said in a quiet, almost-a-whisper voice. "Oh, yes. Anybody could tell. If only people used their minds," Kreacher said. He tapped a closed fist to his head. "What do you mean, used their minds?'" "Master Sirius is not a clever as he thinks," Kreacher said. "Master Sirius would know who you was if he was smart enough. But nobody seems to know, oh no, because they is not smart. The blood traitors and half-breeds and Mudbloods in this house doesn't use their brains because they has none, but if they did, they would see that you, Miss Lyra, is the daughter of Miss Bella." I swallowed again. "You know my name." "Yes, Kreacher knows." "Kreacher!" I said, suddenly panicky. "Kreacher, whatever you do, please don't tell anybody! They're not supposed to know!" Kreacher bowed low to me. "Of course, Miss Lyra. Kreacher lives to serve the Noble and Most Ancient House of Black." End Notes: Reviews? Maybe? Please? Back to index Chapter 17- The Truth by Lyra Lestrange Author's Notes: Obviously this is a major turning point, and I would love to know what you all think. ~Chapter 17- The Truth~ I spent the night at Sirius's house. I had my own bedroom this time, one on the third floor. Ever since Kreacher had talked to me that afternoon, I felt like being alone. That night, I stared at the ceiling for a long time before attempting to fight for sleep. Eventually, after a few long hours of tossing and turning and trying to get comfortable, darkness surrounded me.

I was falling into a pit of shadows from which there was no escaping. I flailed my arms and tried to grab hold of something, but there was nothing but blackness. It was like I was being sucked into a black hole ... I heard whispering. Who was there? I shot up quickly, sweating. It was just a dream. But the whispering continued to sound from somewhere nearby. Someone was outside my bedroom door. I grabbed my wand off the nightstand instinctively, not because of the voices, but the dream. Without warning the door flew open. I froze with fear. It was him. The man who haunted everyone's nightmares walked into my room. I began to shake and sweat. I was trembling, but when I tried to lift my wand hand into the air, I found myself immobilized with fear. Then, right before me, the snakelike, white faced, red-eyed man with no nostrils disappeared and was replaced by a young woman with pink hair. She laughed. My fear instantly turned to rage. I pointed my wand at her. She shouted, tears in her eyes from laughter, "Sirius, she fell for it!" "What do you think you're doing?" I roared. She continued to laugh in a childlike manner. She seemed ... unless I was mistaken ... rather intoxicated. "Playing a joke on you! You should have seen your face. You were so scared!" Words couldn't describe my anger at her. I hollered, "Of course I was scared! Voldemort just walked into my bedroom!" "Relax, Linds, it was just a joke!" "Yeah, but do you see me laughing?" She'd stopped laughing by now, but she said, "I didn't think you'd take it seriously." "Well, then, you didn't think at all, did you?" I screamed. "You call yourself an Auror? You-I'm-I'm going-" I couldn't find the right words, yet again. But then they came to me so spontaneously and perfectly that a fresh wave of rage crashed over me and I yelled, with my wand pointed at her, "CRUCIO!"

She screamed in pain and I stopped, stunned by my own actions. "What do you - ? Why - ? What in Merlin's name do you think you're doing?" she said. Her skin had gone pale and she was shaking now. I couldn't answer. I stood in my spot, my wand still pointed and my mouth open. What was I doing? What had prompted me to use that curse? Sirius came into the room looking frantic. "What's going on? Who did that?" Dora pointed at me, still shaking. "She did." "Lindsey? Why? How?" "I don't know what happened!" I yelled, much louder that I'd intended. "It just came to me; it was my first instinct!" "Do you realize you just used an Unforgivable Curse? You could be sent to prison!" With my parents. Where I belong. I burst into tears. "I didn't mean to! I ... have no idea ... I don't want ... to get caught ... " I flopped onto the bed and sobbed into my pillow. "Lucky we're Unplottable," Sirius said, "or else you'd be locked up for sure." "Dora, I'm sorry! It's just that ... you scared me! Voldemort - in my room - was a prank - got angry - please!" I hardly knew what I was saying in between sobs, but Dora understood. "I ... I'm sorry. That was awful. I shouldn't have disguised myself as You-Know-Who. I know it was cruel and during these times you don't know who to trust. That was an awful thing to do on my part; needless to say ... I was being stupid. I won't do it again. And I ... and ... " She practically talked to her palms. She refused to look at me. I couldn't really blame her. "And you had a little too much firewhisky tonight," Sirius finished for her. He looked at me and said, "Christmas celebrations, you know. Anyway, it's two-o-clock. You should go back to sleep. Tonks, you too." She nodded. "Linds ... honestly ... "

"Forget it," I said. "I - " "I said, forget it!" Based on the looked of fear and astonishment that reappeared on her face, I assumed she was afraid I might blow up again. She left and I lay back down, eyes open. Like I was getting any more sleep tonight ... Sirius lingered for a moment. He said, "Wow. I've never seen you so angry. You ... " He looked into my eyes again and shook his head. "Maybe you have more than just her looks." And he left. His comment stabbed me in the heart. What had I done? I'd become a monster! If I got fired up again, what would happen? If I got angrier than that, could I end up killing someone? How many Unforgivable Curses would fly out of my mouth when I got fired up? I thought about this for hours. I couldn't come to any conclusion about the anger issues, but Sirius's words stung me and I came to a conclusion for that. The following morning I went to Dora and said, "Dora, I think it's time to tell Sirius the truth." She agreed without being reluctant and said, "Yes. I think you're right."

I was in the drawing room, kneeling in front of the tapestry. My eyes were unfocused due to lack of sleep. The door opened and I knew who it was. "Staring at that again?" "Yes," I answered. Sirius sighed and said, "Well, Lindsey, have you seen Kreacher? He keeps disappearing and I can't find him." I turned around and said, "No. I saw him yesterday ... " My mind drifted back to the conversation I'd had with Kreacher the previous day. Sirius, forgetting about Kreacher, said, "Wow. You look awful." "I'm sure I do."

"Are you okay?" he asked me. "I don't know," I said. "Well ... yeah, I do know, and no, I'm not okay. Listen, Sirius - " "Lindsey, I'm sorry about what I said last night," he said. "I wasn't thinking when I said you were like my cousin. I was just bewildered that you were able to perform an Unforgivable Curse with that much power." I sighed and looked down at my hands. "There might be a reason for that. Sirius, the thing is ... " But I couldn't say it. My voice was lost. I opened my mouth to speak again, but no sound came out. "Go on," he said. I tried again. "I'm only ... I'm only saying this because ... well, because we're family and I think you should know. Do you remember when the Lestranges got locked up?" "Of course I remember. I was glad. They were finally getting justice for their crimes," he replied. Then he added, "I watched the dementors bring them in from my cell." "Well, did you read the Prophet at all when they got arrested?" "Occasionally. Why?" "Do you remember it reporting anything about their arrests? I was only a year old, so I wouldn't know, but ... what did the Prophet say about them?" "It told why they were arrested," Sirius said. "It had quotes. They said they claimed Voldemort would return someday, and that they didn't care that they were being locked up. Yet again, why?" I sighed. It was so hard to explain something and get answers at the same time. "Did it say anything else?" I could tell he was thinking hard. "Yes," he said suddenly. "It said Bellatrix and Rodolphus tried to weasel their way out of getting arrested by claiming they had a daughter. It was rubbish; just an excuse." "And that ... that brings me to what I'm trying to say. You see ... the Lestranges ... " My mouth was dry again. "The Lestranges did have a daughter."

He looked at me intently. "What makes you say that?" "Can't you see? It wasn't just an excuse. The Ministry had to come up with a way to hide her, since nobody knew she existed in the first place ... " "Oh ... " he said softly, then "Oh!" in surprise, and finally, "Oh," in a dark tone that indicated he'd put all the puzzle pieces together. He stared at me for a few more seconds with his eyelids lowered. "You're not saying that you are the Lestranges' daughter?" I nodded, fighting back tears, though I wasn't sure why. For a splitsecond I thought he would burst into bark-like laughter, but there was no humor in his face. "But why would the Ministry pretend you didn't exist?" he asked. "I don't know. They thought they were protecting me, I guess. They didn't want the Death Eaters coming after me. Since I'm a Gryffindor and not a Slytherin, they'd probably consider me a blood traitor and would come after me." "That's ridiculous," he said. "There are plenty of blood traitors in this world. Why you and not the rest?" "I don't know," I said, and a few tears escaped. I jumped to my feet. "It's so frustrating all the time! I've nearly slipped up countless times, and I don't know how much longer it'll last! I'm afraid people will find out who I really am, and I don't want that to happen! And yet ... it's what I do want because then I won't have to pretend anymore!" "The Ministry ... has made some stupid choices," Sirius said. "You've seen how they are now. And during the first war they weren't always that smart." I stared at him as tears fell down my face silently without acknowledging this. "So ... is Lindsey your real name, or is it something else?" I regained control and said, "It's not. My real name's Lyra, and I like it more than Lindsey. Lindsey's a common Muggle name. It was probably the first name that came to the Ministry peoples' minds." "I see your parents carried out the Black family tradition of naming their children after stars or constellations. But look on the bright side ... if Andromeda gave you your alias instead of the Ministry, you could have ended up with a name as bad as Nymphadora. Or

worse." He smiled at me, and I gave a small laugh. "I guess. I just wanted to tell you this. I'm sorry I got upset. It just kind of spilled out." "Don't worry about it," Sirius said. "Sirius ... " I began. "You won't ... judge me, or anything, will you? Considering I'm Bellatrix's daughter instead of Andromeda's. That won't change your view of who I am, will it?" "No," he said. "You're still the same person." He paused before saying, "I didn't like Bellatrix at all, but that doesn't mean anything when it comes to you. After all, I'm not like my parents, either." I thought about that for a moment. He was exactly right. "The hardest part," I said, "is not knowing who they are. I've never met them and probably never will. Sometimes I can't decide which path to take. I don't believe Voldemort is doing the right thing, but since my parents supported him, sometimes I think I should too. I don't think about this often, but last night's events got me thinking about it and, well, I used an Unforgivable Curse so I probably should be on their side, right?" "No. Don't think like that. Look at me. I went separate ways from my parents. You can as well." "Yeah ... " I said, realizing just how much more I had in common with Sirius. "Sirius, don't tell anybody about this. I know you won't, but the fact is that other than you and me, nobody knows the truth except for Dora, Ted, Andromeda, and the Ministry people who made the plan. Oh ... and Kreacher." "Kreacher?" "Yeah. He told me yesterday. He knew all along just by looking at me. I told him not to tell anyone, and he agreed." "No wonder," Sirius said. "He's supposed to obey anyone in the family, and he adored Bellatrix. He'll certainly obey you. No wonder he bows every time he sees you. Anyway, I won't tell. Promise." "Thanks. Honestly, if I had it my way, I'd tell everybody. But I don't think the Ministry would be pleased," I said with a smile. He grinned back. "Probably not. Don't worry. I won't tell the truth." End Notes:

Review, review! Please? Back to index Chapter 18- Escape and Encounter by Lyra Lestrange Author's Notes: The chapter you've all been waiting for! ~Chapter 18- Escape and Encounter~ We returned to Hogwarts on the Knight Bus, escorted by Dora and Lupin. Though I was somewhat happy to return to school, I was going to miss everyone, especially Sirius. The D.A. meetings were the only thing worth going back for, really, considering Umbridge and our upcoming O.W.L.s (extra homework and studying, how fun). January went by normally. Luckily, Umbridge didn't issue any decrees and, so far, had not sacked any teachers. The homework load was increasing, though, but that wasn't anything new. When February arrived, everyone around school talked about Valentine's Day, which was during a Hogsmeade weekend. Obviously I wasn't going with anyone, but I still planned on going to Hogsmeade. I had no idea what was coming, but a few weeks before Valentine's Day, I would receive the biggest shock of my life. It was during breakfast. The owls came with the usual mail and newspapers. Hermione got the Daily Prophet and as soon as she opened her copy she yelped loudly. As she smoothed out the paper; I glanced over at the front page article. Immediately I gasped. There were ten black-and-white photos, each with a sinister-looking face. Most of them were jeering or simply looking bored. The headline said, Mass breakout from Azkaban: Ministry fears Black is "rallying point" for old Death Eaters.' I looked at the first picture. It showed a sneering, twisted-faced man. Underneath was a caption that said, "Antonin Dolohov, convicted of the brutal murders of Gideon and Fabian Prewett."[*] Beneath the caption was another picture with another wizard's face. His caption said, "Augustus Rookwood, convicted of leaking Ministry of Magic Secrets to He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named."[**] But the three pictures below that made my heart jump. Each one was labeled with the name of that person as well as the crime, which was the same for all three. The first one I looked at was labeled Rabastan Lestrange.' Underneath that was Rodolphus Lestrange. And underneath that was the one that made me gasp again. It was Bellatrix.

I thought of the photo I had of my parents in my nightstand drawer. Mentally comparing it to these, I decided that Rodolphus didn't look much different. His face was paler and gaunt-looking, but his general appearance was the same as I'd seen it. But Bellatrix...the pictures I'd seen of her showed her as being beautiful with shining black hair. But in the photo in the paper, her hair was wild and uncared for, as though she hadn't brushed it, let alone cut it, in years. Her face was sunken and hollow and she had a gleam of insanity in her eyes. I'd been too preoccupied looking at the pictures of the escaped Death Eaters that I forgot about the caption underneath. Instantaneously my bewilderment was replaced by a split-second of excitement-I was about to find out why my parents had been arrested once and for all. I read the caption and immediately my excitement vanished. I froze and felt all energy drain from me. It said, "Bellatrix Lestrange, convicted of the torture and permanent incapacitation of Frank and Alice Longbottom."[**] That was it. Longbottom. Neville's parents. My parents had tortured them into insanity. I lost all sense of feeling at that moment. All I could do was stare at the page with my unfocused eyes. I felt faint and nauseous, not to mention unable to breathe. Was I having a heart attack? If shock could cause one, maybe. An asthma attack? No, I didn't have asthma. Maybe I had suddenly become paralyzed and couldn't move anymore. No, nothing had physically hurt me. I had just gone into severe shock. "Lindsey?" I heard my name. Someone was talking... "Is she all right?" "Lindsey?" a hand flew in front of my face. Something at the back of my mind told me it was Hermione. "I think she needs to see Madam Pomfrey," someone else said. "Lindsey, do you need to go to the hospital wing?" I opened my mouth. No sound came out. "Ginny, help me take her up there," Hermione said. Before I realized it, two people had grabbed my arms and pulled me out of my seat. They carried me out of the Hall and all the way to the hospital wing on the fourth floor.

"Where's Madam Pomfrey?" I heard Ginny's voice ask. "She's still at breakfast!" Hermione exclaimed. "Well, don't panic. We'll just put her on a bed and I'll stay here with her. You get Madam Pomfrey." I felt myself gently being pushed onto a hospital bed just as I heard footsteps and a door closing. Hermione spoke again. "Lindsey, what happened?" "I..." My voice was almost a whisper. "I don't..." "It didn't have anything to do with the article, did it?" "It..." The door flung opened and Madam Pomfrey's voice said, "Out of my way! I'll handle this. You two can return to breakfast." Her figure appeared in front of me; my eyes weren't blurred anymore. I looked to my left and saw Ginny and Hermione turning to leave with concerned looks. Hermione stepped ahead but Ginny turned around once to look at me, and I swore I saw a look of surprise-even fear?-in her eyes. The door closed and Madam Pomfrey said, "How do you feel?" "Faint," I muttered. "What happened?" I sat up slightly but she pushed me down with more force than necessary. "I don't know." "You're a fifth year, right?" "Yes." "It must be stress from the homework level. Fifth year is the worst for that." "Yeah," I said without sounding convincing at all. "It must be." "I'll get you some potion, but I need you to rest. I can't let you go to class today." I was happy to obey. As Madam Pomfrey walked off to get the

potion, I closed my eyes and instantly visions entered my head. I saw Barty Crouch, Jr. at the end of last year, saying, "You're just like your mother. The Cruciatus Curse was her specialty." I saw Sirius the night I met him as he said, "Ah, they were such idiots. They thought they'd go off and-" I saw Andromeda at Christmas time as she looked into my eyes and said, "It's just not the right time." I saw Hermione at Grimmauld Place when she told about the visit to St. Mungo's, saying, "They were visiting Neville's parents. You see...his parents were tortured into insanity by Voldemort's Death Eaters." I saw Neville at the Yule Ball last year when he said, "My parents, well...it's a long story." And now I knew the story. I was almost part of the story. Madam Pomfrey came back. I opened my eyes and drank the potion she gave me, which was bright blue and tasted like soap and hairspray mixed together. Then she told me to lie down and rest, which I did. But those visions kept coming back to me, and I remembered how Barty Crouch, Jr. said all the Death Eaters would escape someday. He had been right. Just because I was resting didn't mean I was sleeping. I was as far from sleep as I could possibly be. Millions of questions filled my head and I rested in the quiet hospital environment. They kept coming back to me, questions ranging from curiosity about my parents' escape (Now that they've escaped, could I possibly meet them?' and If I do, what will happen?') to curiosity about how others were taking this (I'm sure I'm the only one who nearly fainted seeing the article, but how did everyone else take it?' and Will people recognize me now? I swore Ginny did...').

I was back in class the following day. Thankfully, not too many people asked about what happened the previous morning in the Great Hall, but more people seemed to stare at me. Whether this was because I'd nearly passed out or because they saw a resemblance between me and the black-and-white photographs, I wasn't sure. The effect of the breakout didn't just affect me. I'd told Dora about everything, and she said Andromeda had reacted badly as well, which was not surprising. Within the next few weeks, several things happened. Hagrid had been put on probation, Umbridge had issued a new decree (teachers couldn't give us any information that didn't have to do with the subject they were teaching-clearly due to the Azkaban breakout), and my grades had dropped dramatically. I'd been

receiving P's and D's in nearly every subject except Astronomy, but it wasn't my fault I wasn't able to concentrate. In fact, the only thing I actually put effort into was the D.A. meetings. Finally Valentine's Day arrived. I planned on going to Hogsmeade to get things off my mind and get out of the castle for a bit. But when that day arrived it was completely impossible to get the breakout off my mind because of the wanted posters on every shop. I stayed as far away from these as I could because I didn't want anyone to notice the resemblance between me and my mother or father or even my uncle. The day was gray and rainy, which went along perfectly with my mood. I didn't dare go into any of the stores. In fact, I stayed as far away from the High Street as possible. All the while I wished that I could be in a warm caf drinking butterbeer instead of out in the rainy cold avoiding the world, but after I while I grew used to the rain and let it soak my hair and robes. I was near the Hog's Head and could see the Shrieking Shack in the distance. I turned the corner onto a country lane when I heard it. Somebody muttered quietly, "Petrificus Totalus!" and I felt my body stiffen and fall. Immobilized, I began to scream (not that there was anyone in the area to hear me) but the voice muttered, "Silencio." I became defenseless. The voice spoke again and said, "Incarcerous!" and I felt ropes wrap around me in a tight binding. A second later I was being dragged through the snow to the Shrieking Shack, but by what, I wasn't sure. Even if I hadn't been immobilized, I wouldn't have been able to move. I was fixed with fear-where was I going and who, or what, had attacked me? Well, whatever it was reached the Shrieking Shack and dragged me into it where it wasn't much warmer. I felt the ropes lift and I sat up weakly, sopping wet from rain and snow. I looked up to see the attacker, getting more and more anxious each moment. Then a solid figure appeared in front of me: a person had dragged me here and they'd been under a Disillusionment Charm. The figure appeared in front of me and I stared back with wide eyes, too immobilized to scream or gasp. A lethifold, a Hungarian Horntail, or a manticore couldn't have scared me as badly as this sight did. It was a woman, thin, gaunt-faced with heavily-lidded eyes and wild, untamed dark hair. A nasty smile crossed her lips as she looked at me, apparently amused. I didn't know which emotion was strongerfear, shock, or even joy-but a second later I'd been yanked off me

feet and grasped into a huge hug. When I was released I nearly fell to the wooden floor again, but somehow managed to stay up. Finding my voice at last, I said weakly, "Is...is it really you?" She smiled that wicked smile again and said in a low voice, "Yes. And stay here. We have a lot of catching up to do." "Y-you're...you're..." I stammered, but my mouth had gone dry. "BBellatrix Lestrange? M-my..." I couldn't say it; the words were too bizarre to me. "My mother?" "Yes," she said. "You sound unsure. You're not surprised, are you?" I didn't have the energy to talk. How did I know I wasn't about to be attacked? She was my mother, but on top of that she was a Death Eater who'd been imprisoned for fourteen years. Without delay I remembered those feelings I'd had all my life-how I wanted to meet my parents and know them for who they were. Now I wasn't sure. "Lyra," she said. "Lyra, Lyra, Lyra. It's great to see you. How are things?" How could she be so casual? I didn't respond. This was too overwhelming. "Ah," she said. "Forgive me. I should I explain a few things..." My astonishment turned to rage at that second and my emotions completely transformed. My voice came to me easily now, and I said, "Forgive you? Forgive you? How can I forgive you? You went out into the world and decided to be stupid! You got locked up! You don't need to explain anything because I already know! You're a Death Eater and carrying out those duties meant more to you than...than watching after your daughter!" She stared at me with a stunned expression. I felt hot tears of anger on my face now. After building up those emotions for years, they were finally spilling out. "I always wondered who you were," I went on. "But nobody would tell me why you got locked up. I wanted the truth. I wanted to know who I was!" "Lyra." She hugged me again, and I could tell she was trying to be comforting. I felt ashamed accepting it. "Let me explain." I breathed deeply and sat on one of the torn up chairs undoubtedly damaged by Lupin in his werewolf form. Looking up at her, I said, "Go on."

"The Dark Lord...was defeated. His Killing Curse backfired and he was ripped body from soul, and the Potter brat escaped with nothing but a scar." I glared at her. "Tell me something I don't know." "I was devastated. He was my master, the only thing I lived for. He-" "Wait." My tone was icy cold. "The only thing you lived for? What about your family? Me, Rodolphus, Narcissa. Did you even care about us?" "Of course I did. I had pride in my family, except for my blood traitor of a sister. But yes, I was proud. Rodolphus and his brother were Death Eaters, Narcissa had married a respectable pureblood who became a Death Eater, so yes, I was proud of my family. But back to the story. The Dark Lord was gone. I knew he'd come back someday, and I was right-" I rolled my eyes. She sounded just like Barty Crouch, Jr. "Rodolphus, Rabastan, Barty Crouch, Jr. and I went to search for him. We knew he was out there. We found some blood traitors who we knew were associated with that Muggle-lover Albus Dumbledore: the Longbottoms." My stomach flip-flopped, but I continued to listen. "We tried to get answers and information from them. We tortured them with the Cruciatus Curse until they went insane. They refused to give us anything. And then the Aurors caught us and we were locked up." "Yes," I said, harsh-sounding again. "And all this time, while you were being dragged away by Aurors, I was probably at home in my crib wondering when my parents would be returning, not knowing I wouldn't see them again until...until now!" She sighed and said, "Lyra, there's no taking back the things I've done, and I can't say I'm sorry for them. But will you forgive me and move on?" I could never forgive her. Never. But I guessed I could drop it-not that I wanted to, but I didn't want things to turn ugly. If I continued, she could do anything to me. "Well, then..." I said. "What now?"

"I want to know what you've been up to, how you've been living at the hands of my awful sister. I tried Lyra, I tried hard, and I'm very sorry, but Narcissa wouldn't take you. She was too fond of Draco and didn't want another child." I glared at her again. "You shouldn't be sorry because Andromeda has been a great mother to me, blood traitor or not." To my great surprise, that mischievous smile flitted across her face. She said, "So you admit she's a blood traitor." "Well...yeah, but that's not necessarily a bad thing." Her smile changed from mischievous to satisfied. "Hmmm. Well at least you can recognize blood traitors when they're there. Slytherin house has taught you well." "Sly-Slytherin?" I stammered. "Yes," she said with a trace of annoyance in her voice. "That's your house, isn't it?" "Well-" I didn't need to say anymore. I saw that glint of insanity in her eyes, the one I'd seen in the wanted posters, as she glared and boomed, "You're not in Slytherin?" "No!" I said, trying to keep the fear out of my voice, but it didn't quite work." "Then what house are you in?" she spat. "Surely Ravenclaw, at the very least?" "No, no, I'm not-" "Then that leaves Gryffindor and Hufflepuff!" "Yes, exactly! I'm...I'm in Gryffindor...that's where the Sorting Hat put me..." Her eyes glinted madly again. "Gryffindor! You're in the same house as Harry Potter, the one who defeated the Dark Lord! But...how...why...my daughter can't be a Gryffindor! Your blood is pure as can be, you're the daughter of two Slytherins, and they put you in a house full of Mudbloods and blood traitors and scum!" I couldn't think of anything to say. She was clearly extremely unsettled by this news as she muttered stuff under her breath.

"For fourteen long years I waited for this! I waited to finally know my only daughter, and she's been put in Gryffindor!" "Bellatrix..." I said lightly. Calling her mother' or mum' was unimaginable. "Er...where is Rodolphus, anyway?" "I made him stay behind." "Why? Why can't I meet him too? He is my father, after all." "Lyra." she sighed. "You don't get it. I left the Dark Lord for a small amount of time. I took the risk because I wanted to...meet you. If we both came, well...we couldn't both leave the Dark Lord's duties. I told...I told the Dark Lord that I was doing a mission for him though I was actually coming to visit you." "Oh," was all I could say. I felt a tiny stab of affection for her. Maybe she did care about me after all. Then a question hit me and I asked, "But if you don't come back with the mission completed, what will Voldemort say?" "You speak his name?" she asked, suddenly shocked. "You shouldn't say it! You must be brave...no wonder you're a Gryffindor...but no, I will complete the mission. I Imperiused a random person. They are doing it for me." I shuddered at the thought of the Unforgivable Curse as she continued. "Yes...saying his name is a mark of bravery...he will value that..." "What do you mean, he will value that?" I asked. "Lyra, haven't you seen what school has done to you? You can't be around blood scum any longer. I must take you with me. I'm sure you have extraordinary power and magical talent, so, though you are young, I'm sure the Dark Lord will take you in." It took me a minute to grasp the meaning of her words. When I couldn't, I changed the subject. "Could you show it to me?" I said. "Show you what?" "The Mark." "Oh..." She smiled slyly and pulled back her sleeve. There, in plain flesh, was the Dark Mark, branded into her arm by Voldemort himself.

"I can feel it," I said. "What's that?" "I can feel the Mark. When Vol-when the Dark Lord touches it, I feel it. It hadn't happened at all until last year at the Quidditch World Cup. But throughout the year I could feel it...growing stronger and stronger. I read the signs. I knew he was coming back. I feel it a lot now, though, and I'm not surprised. He must summon you a lot." "But you don't have the Mark, so how can you feel it?" "I just can. I don't know why, but Dora-I mean, someone I know told me it might be because of Dark magic." "And why would you tell anybody this? Who's Dora?" "Nobody!" I exclaimed. "Someone...I mean, fine, she's Andromeda's daughter and she's practically my sister..." "Ah, yes." She smiled evilly. "My sister did have a daughter with that filthy Mudblood she married." Then her mood changed: her face turned impassive and she looked me in the eyes intently. "Lyra, let's go. You can join the Dark Lord." I glared at her. "No." "What's that?" "I said, no. I'm not joining Voldemort." "Don't say his name!" she gasped. "Come on! Let's leave! I need to get back!" "No!" "Lyra, listen to me! I'm your mother, you have to listen! Leave this place now! I can't let you stay with Mudbloods and other scum and have you turn into a blood traitor as well! Come on!" "No! The other Death Eaters wouldn't accept me, I'm sure of it! And you can't tell me what to do!" "I'm your mother!" "Some mother! You haven't seen me for fourteen years! Like you ever cared for me!" "Shut up! I did care about you! Now let's just go!"

"No! I can decide for myself! I'm not a child!" "You're only fifteen and have no idea who you're dealing with!" "You're right about that!" I argued. "I don't know you, and if I'm only fifteen, why are you telling me to join the Death Eaters? Do you want me to be killed?" She stared at me through narrowed eyes. Finally, she spoke calmly at first, "I don't want you killed. I just want you back! It's been fourteen long years in Azkaban for me! I think I deserve more than what you're giving me!" "Stop pretending you care! I get it now-you only care about Voldemort and his plans! You only want to...to serve me up as bait or something because he needs to recruit followers!" She pulled out her wand and pointed it at me. Before I knew what was coming... "Crucio!" I fell to the floor of the shack, writhing it pain. It was agony, torture, the worst pain I'd ever physically experienced. I screamed as the curse lifted. Barty Crouch, Jr. had been right: she was talented at that. I was shaking so much I couldn't speak. She said, "Will that change your mind?" I got up and dusted off my robes, looking into her eyes for a hint of sympathy, hoping that maybe she'd just blown up like I had over the holiday break, hoping with all my heart that it was an accident and she hadn't meant to inflict that pain. However, her face was quite assertive. "Will that change your mind?" she repeated. "Will it? Answer me, or I will have to do that again?" "No!" I shouted. "It won't change my mind; I'll never join!" "Fine, then," she said, lowering her wand. "Then my work here is done. You can be...what was your alias again?" "Lindsey Tonks," I mumbled as quietly as possible, but still audibly. "Yes. You can be Lindsey Tonks for the rest of your life, and I'll leave. Don't you realize that joining will free you from that name?

That in joining, you'll meet your father and we can be a reunited family again? But the choice is yours...if you refuse to accept, then I'll leave and we'll never see each other again." Now I was torn. I felt hatred toward her...and yet, it wasn't that I never wanted to see her again. Still, joining Voldemort was much too high of a price. "Never," I said. "Fine, then. It's your choice." I could tell she was preparing to Disapparate. "Wait!" I said. There was so much more I wanted to know, now that I thought about it. "Bellatrix, wait! Don't go! I want to know-" She pointed her wand at me again. "Don't say anything." "Don't leave yet!" "Shut it," she snarled. "I won't give you anything. You're no daughter of mine." Then, with a loud crack, she was gone. I couldn't move. I couldn't breath. I felt faint again. The room around me became blurry and I felt myself fall. I hit the hard wooden floor and everything went black. End Notes: [*]Quote taken from the American Version of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, page 543 [**] page 544 Back to index Chapter 19- Gamma Orionis by Lyra Lestrange ~Chapter 19- Gamma Orionis~ It was a dream. It had to be a dream. But somehow, when I woke up in a soft, warm bed in a dark room, I knew it really wasn't a dream. I sat up and felt my head throb. Immediately I was pushed back down. My eyes began to come into focus and I saw a flash of pink, but the force of the push made everything blurry again. "Lie down. You need to rest," the voice said coldly, but a new voice shouted, "She's awake! Thank goodness!"

I sat up again and this time nobody pushed me. As things came into focus once more, I realized I was in the hospital wing. Curtains hung around the bed I was in and faces formed in front of me. I recognized Dora and Andromeda. Why were they here? "You really should lie down," Dora said, and I realized by her pink hair that she was the one who had pushed me down. I looked at the two of them for a few seconds before saying, "What happened?" "You passed out," Dora said. Her voice was icy, even angry. "Why are you here?" I asked. "Lindsey, I'll explain..." Andromeda said softly. "The night after the Hogsmeade trip, one of the students-Hermione Granger, I think it was-reported to Professor McGonagall that you hadn't been seen since all of the students left for the trip. They realized you weren't in the castle, so Professor Dumbledore alerted the Order because he knew you were associated with them. They got Nymphadora and Remus Lupin to search the village for you and they found you unconscious in the Shrieking Shack. You hit your head really hard on the floor and fell on your wrist badly. They brought you back here to be treated. Then Nymphadora told me what happened and we came here with Lupin. We've been waiting with you ever since. Madam Pomfrey said you'd be fine, but she wasn't sure when you'd wake up." I slowly raised my left hand to my throbbing head and felt a bump the size of an egg. I also realized my wrist was wrapped in a bandage. I looked at the two of them again. Andromeda looked sympathetic but Dora had a blazing look in her eyes, as if she wanted answers. "So...so how long have I been knocked out?" My voice was weak. The two exchanged glances and Andromeda said, "Almost two days." They both looked at me and I knew they wanted an explanation. Finally Andromeda had the nerve to say, "Lindsey...do you...er...remember anything?" My mind drifted back to the encounter with Bellatrix. The details flowed into my head as clearly as possible. "Yes," I answered. "Then what happened?" Dora demanded. "Why were you in the Shrieking Shack and why were you unconscious? Were you

attacked?" "No," I said. "But...I need to...I can't discuss it with - " "Mum," Dora interrupted. "You may want to butt out now." "No," I said. "I need you to go away, Dora. I need to talk with her alone." Dora looked like I'd slapped her in the face and was about to argue, but Andromeda said, "Nymphadora, you should go." "Fine!" she said. "But I think I have the right to know this! If she was attacked, the Order needs to know!" "I wasn't attacked!" I yelled, but that was a lie. The truth was that I had been attacked, that just wasn't what had caused me to pass out. "And I'll tell you, Dora, I just want to talk to her first!" "Lindsey, calm down," Andromeda said gently. "You need to relax. Tell me what happened. Nymphadora, please just step away for a few moments while she explains." With a final glare at the pair of us, Dora walked away from my bed and sat down at Madam Pomfrey's desk in the front of the ward. To my surprise, Remus Lupin was already sitting there. I remembered he had helped Dora rescue me. Had he been here the whole time? "I don't want anyone to overhear," I told Andromeda. "It's important." "Don't worry..." She pulled out her wand and cast a spell over the perimeter of out area. "Now no one can hear." "Okay," I said. I took a deep breath. "Andromeda...it was her. She found me." I felt tears pool up in my eyes as I remembered what happened. I looked into Andromeda's eyes and I saw the comprehension in her face. Startled, she said, "You don't mean - ?" "Yes!" I said with a sob. "She...she attacked me..." "You said you weren't attacked!" "I'm sorry! What I meant was I didn't faint because she attacked me! Please listen!" She exhaled deeply. "Okay. Calm down and explain." "She pulled me into the shack and we talked...she explained some

things..." I told her about our conversation up until the point before she used the Cruciatus Curse on me. I wanted to skip this because I knew Andromeda would freak, but I couldn't. I stopped talking, gasping for breath. "There's more, I can tell," Andromeda said. "What happened next?" "She...she...when I refused to join Voldemort, she...attacked at last. She used...she used..." I was sobbing so hard I could barely breathe, let alone talk. However, I didn't need to say anymore. Andromeda knew exactly what I was talking about. "Lyra..." she said, gently wiping a tear from my face as I shook with sobs. "That's awful..." I figured she couldn't put her thoughts into words. Once I'd calmed down slightly, I went on. "So...then she Disapparated. But before she left, she said, You are no daughter of mine.' And then I fainted, and that's all I remember." I put my head in my hands - feeling a stabbing pain through my left wrist; I'd forgotten it was bandaged - and sobbed some more. "This is terrible," Andromeda said. "I can't believe she would do something-" I glared at her. "You can't? Why can't you? Do you still think she's your once-innocent older sister who never joined the Death Eaters?" "Lyra, no...that's not what I meant...I just wasn't thinking..." I sighed. "That's okay." "Well, I think you should stay away from Hogsmeade from now on. Don't leave Hogwarts grounds, whatever you do." "Why would I have a reason to leave Hogwarts?" I asked. "You wouldn't." She sighed. "Anyway, if you need rest, I understand. And I'm sure - " (she shot a look at Dora, who was talking with Lupin) "-that Nymphadora will understand too. But if you're up for telling the story again, I think she'd like to know." "I can retell it." "Okay, then." She stood up and called across the wing, "Nymphadora!" Dora turned away from her conversation with Lupin and mouthed

"What?" angrily. Andromeda told her to come over, and, perking up slightly, she motioned for Lupin to stay there while she talked to me. She came over and I told the story again, only with less crying this time. Once I finished, I asked, "Dora, you can't tell the Order about this." "Why?" she asked harshly. "They need to know so we can protect you." "No. Then they'll know who I am, and I think it's best that I remain under my false identity." For the first time in my life, I was grateful for what the Ministry had done. She sighed and gave me a hard, annoyed look before motioning for Lupin to come over. When he approached, he gave Dora a somewhat expectant look, but she said, "For her benefit, I can't tell you what happened." Lupin nodded, understanding. He turned to me and said, "Lindsey, we have to leave. I'm glad you're okay." "Yeah, we'll see you later," Dora said. "Take care. Don't go back to Hogsmeade. If you need anything, write to me. I'll tell Madam Pomfrey that you're up so she can give you medicine. See you." I nodded my head, blinking back tears. After what happened, I could hardly imagine going back to normal school life. I rested my head as Dora, Andromeda, and Lupin walked off, wishing that I could escape the world forever.

Madam Pomfrey fed me some of the worst tasting potions ever. I could barely swallow as she stood over me and made me drink. After that, she stalked off to let me rest. She wasn't in a good mood - Andromeda had explained to her that I couldn't tell what happened, and she'd argued that she should be allowed to know since she was treating me. However, she left me alone and allowed me to sleep. Eventually it became dark and she went to her office for the night. I was freely alone now - I was the only patient in the wing. After a day of being still with nothing to occupy me but my thoughts, I was growing restless. Now was my chance. I could get out of the wing for awhile. I realized I wasn't tired. I stood up, and the room spun for a few seconds. Once I could see properly again, I grabbed my wand from the nightstand next to me.

I cast a Disillusionment Charm over myself-Dora had learned how from her Auror training and had passed that knowledge on to me. Hoping I'd done a good job, I walked to the door of the wing and turned the knob. Locked. I wasn't surprised. I took out my hand and muttered, "Alohomora." It clicked open. Ha! Madam Pomfrey's security wasn't as great as she thought. It was either that or she didn't expect me to sneak out. Knowing her, she probably didn't think I had enough energy or strength to even pick up my wand. I went into the hall and, after locking the door behind me, headed for the stairs. I was on the fourth floor and was aiming for the seventh. Walking quietly and blending in with the surroundings, I reached the seventh floor and began to walk to my destination. I was headed for the Astronomy Tower. That door was locked as well, but I was still able to open it. Once inside, I walked up the spiral stairs to the top of the tower where it opened to the night sky. This was where classes studied Astronomy at midnight, but it was much past that. The only things I had to worry about were the presence of Peeves, Filch, or Mrs. Norris, and I didn't think any of them were likely to come here without a reason. I put my hands behind my head, being extremely careful with my hurt wrist. Then I stretched out on the stone floor of the tower and gazed up at the stars. It was a clear night and the moon was bright. Normally I stargazed to get my mind off things, but tonight I was doing the opposite. When I was at home I did this a lot. But it was near impossible to sneak out of the dormitories at night, so I couldn't do it at Hogwarts. I had to make an exception for tonight, though. I picked out Orion instantly. From years of studying astronomy, I could easily find my favorite constellations. Orion was one of them. It wasn't really the constellation that I liked-it was one of the stars within it, Gamma Orionis, also known as Bellatrix. This had always been my preferred star. Every night during Astronomy classes when Orion was out, I found this one. Staring at it made me feel somehow serene. I couldn't explain it, it just did. Thinking about how far away Gamma Orionis was made me feel insignificant. Oddly, that was what I liked about staring at the stars. They were so far away, and it was possible that they had planets and life of their own that had their own issues. It made me feel like my problems were tiny and unimportant in the vast universe.

With the glimmering stars staring back at me, I began to think of the recent encounter with my mother. If she was once an innocent star like Gamma Orionis, what had happened? Was it because of Rodolphus or her parents or just being in Slytherin house? What had caused her to change...to supernova? I felt determined to find out. Eventually I realized truly how tired I was, so I crept back to the hospital wing. For the first time in a long time, my mind was clear enough for me to sleep. As soon as I climbed back into my hospital wing bed, I forgot about everything as I slipped away from consciousness. End Notes: Questions? Comments? Predictions? Write them in a review :) Back to index Chapter 20- The Beginning of the End by Lyra Lestrange Author's Notes: Sorry about the wait. My schoolwork has kept me busy. That, and I've been lazy and kinda forgot about this... :P ~Chapter 20- The Beginning of the End~ Returning to school was easier and harder than I thought. It was easy because nobody knew what had happened and I was able to become a brick wall again. It was hard because I couldn't focus on school anymore and my grades fell even lower. I nearly broke down when I actually received a T on a Potions essay, which made my confidence fall because apparently I was as stupid as a troll. Trelawney was sacked and replaced with a centaur, Firenze. His Divination classes were much better than Professor Trelawney's and more practical, but my grades didn't improve a bit. With Umbridge, failing school, still being shaken by the Hogsmeade trip, and upcoming O.W.L.s, not to mention minor things like Gryffindor losing terribly at Quidditch, there was little to look forward to during school. At least we still had D.A. meetings. I was so excited because we were finally learning Patronuses. Harry told us you had to think of a strong, happy thought to cast it. I couldn't think of anything happy that had gone on recently, but then I thought about the times with Sirius at Grimmauld Place, which eventually did the trick. Harry did warn us that it was easier to produce a Patronus in our situation than it was when you were actually under attack, which made me frustrated at first because I couldn't even produce one here. I wasn't the only one. Several others were about to give in but a few had managed it. I thought of my happy thought and muttered, "Expecto Patronum." Nothing happened. Another try sent a shot of silver vapor from my

wand, which Harry noticed. "Keep trying," he said. "You're almost there. You may need a stronger thought." I tried several more times. On the tenth try, a brilliant silver dove emerged from the end of my wand and began to flutter around the room. "You got it!" Harry said. I smiled and looked around the room. An otter bounced around Hermione, Cho had a produced a soaring swan, and a few other silver animals were here and there. Some people were having trouble. Neville's face was covered in sweat as he focused on his thought, but nothing happened. I turned my head away from him. After the Azkaban breakout, I could barely stand to look at Neville without feeling a surge of regret or a sick feeling in my stomach. It wasn't that I had done anything, but I just felt awful that I had been his friend when he didn't know who I was. I also feared that if he looked at me, he would see my parents. I was sure he had memorized their faces and could easily pick me out. I was admiring my dove when the door to the Room of Requirement opened and a house elf with several knitted hats on his head came in. He walked over to Harry and tugged on his robes. His eyes were wide with fear. The elf explained that she' was coming. Umbridge. This was it. We were busted. Everyone ran out of the room at top speed. I bolted to the Owlery, the closest location, with a group of people. Someone whispered, "What do you think will happen?" "I don't know," another voice replied. I walked up to the peak of the Owlery with a bad feeling in my stomach. I knew what was going to happen. Umbridge had caught Harry. He would be expelled for sure. So would the rest of us if we were caught. The situation hit me: the D.A. was over.

Things only got ten times worse the next day. Cho's friend Marietta Edgecombe had snitched on us and that was how Umbridge found out. Harry hadn't been expelled-he had managed to get out of trouble again. However, the worst part was this: Dumbledore had

taken the blame for Harry and had escaped two Aurors and several Ministry wizards. He was now gone from the school. Obviously, Umbridge replaced him. Umbridge as headmistress. Maybe being expelled wouldn't be so bad. If anything, the only plus was that Marietta Edgecombe now had the word sneak' permanently written across her face in acne. That, and the Weasley twins rebellion against Umbridge, which involved fireworks and a portable swamp. I scribbled on my Astronomy essay and sighed. The work had loaded up for O.W.L.s. Sure, Fred and George's glorious escape had been a nice change of pace (many people had quickly adopted their ways of mayhem) but it was time to get back to studying. I sighed again; today had been as normal as Hogwarts could be with Umbridge around. Today should have been something more. It was May 17th, the day of my sixteenth birthday. It wasn't like it was really any different from a normal day. That was my mindset when I finished my essay and went up to the dormitory. But when I got up there, I saw a couple of tiny wrapped packages on my bed. One was covered neatly in pink, the other clumsily in orange. On top there was a stamp in red ink, saying Inspected and passed by the Hogwarts High Inquisitor.' I tore open the pink one, which I soon realized was from Ted and Andromeda. Inside was a box of homemade chocolate, which I began to eat greedily. Andromeda's chocolate was the best, and after a long day, I needed some. The next package I knew was from Dora, based on the clumsy wrapping. I ripped it open and found a brand new black quill. It was extremely nice and looked expensive. "Wow, Dora," I breathed quietly as I fingered with the quill. Then I put it with my school stuff and disposed of the wrappers. I leaned back on my four-poster, feeling oddly unsatisfied. It felt like something was missing. I realized why-Sirius. Did he get me a gift? If so, where was it? I tried not to think about this. I knew I shouldn't expect presents. I mean, nobody really had to buy me anything, right? I came to one conclusion: he had splurged so much on my Christmas gift, and that was good enough, wasn't it?

By some miracle, Gryffindor managed to win the Quidditch cup, despite how awful they'd been playing all season. And there was nothing left but O.W.L. exams. I recited things in my mind as I went down to the Great Hall for the first exam, Theory of Charms. Inside the Hall, the house tables had been replaced with individual seats. Professor McGonagall was at the front. She told us to begin, tipped over a giant hourglass, and I began my test. Studying paid off because the test wasn't all that hard. But I reminded myself that it was only the first one. We still had the Charms practical. I found it much less difficult; the art of casting spells came naturally to me while memorizing and writing theory was not my strong point. We took our Herbology exam on Wednesday, Defense Against the Dark Arts on Thursday (which was extremely satisfying because of the D.A. lessons as they really did help on the practical), and Potions the following Monday. Within the next few days I'd also taken Arithmancy, Care of Magical Creatures, Astronomy theory (which I was sure I had passed), and Divination. Wednesday evening was spent taking the Astronomy practical, which ended up being interesting. Umbridge went to Hagrid's hut to sack him, but he fought back. McGonagall tried to stop him but was hit in the chest with several Stunning spells from the Aurors that accompanied Umbridge. Hagrid managed to flee. Dumbledore was gone, Hagrid was gone, McGonagall was gone...it truly was the beginning of the end.

Our History of Magic test was the following afternoon. As I scribbled away and tried to remember everything I'd studied on giant wars and goblin rebellions, I found it hard to concentrate in the blazing sun. Then, in the middle of the exam, it happened. Harry collapsed onto the ground, holding his scar. Everyone stopped their test and the examiners tried to coax him to the hospital wing, so he left. I had a hard time finishing the test. Somewhere inside me, I felt something worse was wrong. I walked back to the hall, my mind on things other than the exam.

On the first floor while passing an empty classroom, I heard someone - I was sure it was Harry - yelling angrily. Some sort of magnetic pull was making me go inside. I opened the door to find Harry in a heated argument with Ron and Hermione. "Is something wrong?" I asked nervously, once I'd approached. Hermione looked at me and said, "Well...it's kind of between..." But Harry, after taking several deep breaths to calm himself, said, "Hermione, it's okay, she's his cousin. Lindsey, it's Voldemort - he's got Sirius." End Notes: Once again, I'm going to apologize. I'm sorry this is short and basically a summary of what happens in the book. I hope you enjoyed it anyway and leave a review! Back to index Chapter 21- Floo, Fire, and Flight by Lyra Lestrange Author's Notes: Here it is. ~Chapter 21- Floo, Fire, and Flight~ I couldn't comprehend anything. I felt like I was going to faint again. "Catch her, Ron!" I heard Hermione scream. I felt myself slip but fell into Ron's arms instead of hitting the floor. He released me and I took several deep breaths, trying to stay conscious. I heard voices. Ginny and Luna seemed to have arrived. I vaguely listened as Harry argued with them, not to mention Ron and Hermione, to come up with a plan. Despite the loud, angry shouting, I didn't pay much attention. Instead I thought of Sirius, writhing under the pain of the Cruciatus Curse. I knew what it felt like. Nobody else here did. The group dispersed. As Harry began to charge out of the room, I said, "Wait, where do I fit into all of this?" They all stared at me. Finally Harry said, "You'll stay here. We have enough people." It was quite a stab in the heart. But I wouldn't let this go. "I'm coming. I'll help. Whatever you need." "We're just going to Umbridge's fireplace to check Grimmauld Place and see if Sirius is there. The fewer people, the better."

"I'll go to the fireplace with you," I said. "I want to make sure Sirius is really with Voldemort." Harry looked at me angrily and said, "No! I don't want to get anyone in any more trouble than we could get in, and we can't all fit under the cloak! Sirius is my godfather, I should be - " "Your godfather?" I snapped. "He's my cousin, and I think I have every right to see if he's still there! I don't think the two of you share the same blood, do you?" Harry swore. "This isn't about rights or blood, Lindsey, this is about his life. Why don't you stay behind with Ginny and Luna? They're going to keep watch." "No! I'm coming whether you like it or not!" "Harry, let her come. He is her cousin, she does have every right, and we can all fit under the cloak if we stay close," said Hermione. "FINE!" Harry shouted. "Fine-come, then!" And he turned around, slammed the door, and went to the dormitories to get his invisibility cloak. The rest of us followed Hermione to Umbridge's corridor. Harry returned a few minutes later, out of breath and saying, "Got it. Ready to go, then?" Hermione explained the plan. Ginny, Luna, and Ron headed off; Harry tossed the Invisibility Cloak over us. If I had not been so nervous about Sirius, I would have been amazed with this cloak that concealed the three of us entirely. As we walked toward Umbridge's office, I heard Ginny warning people about the dangerous gas that wasn't really there. It was a clever diversion. When we reached the door, Harry removed a knife from his bag and used it to undo the lock. I heard a click. We were now permitted to enter the room. Inside, we pulled off the cloak. Hermione ran to the window to make sure the coast was clear while Harry and I hurried to the fireplace. He was faster than me as he grabbed some floo powder and tossed it into the fire. The flames turned green and he stuck his head in, yelling the name of his godfather's home. I couldn't see what was happening on the other end. There wasn't enough room in the fire for both of us. I did my best to visualize based on Harry's conversation. "Sirius?" he shouted. "Sirius, are you there?" A pause. "Who's there?" A longer pause. "Where's Sirius, Kreacher?"

Kreacher. A tiny amount of relief hit me. Kreacher would listen to me because of who I was... "Where's he gone? Where's he gone, Kreacher?" I would have to step in. I knew Kreacher wouldn't obey Harry ... "I'm warning you!" I didn't know what Kreacher was doing, but as Harry said, "Where has Sirius gone? Kreacher, has Sirius gone to the Department of Mysteries?" I yanked the back of his robes and pulled him from the fire. He swore, which didn't surprise me, but I ignored this and stuck my head in. My head swirled through the Floo Network and seconds later I was facing the elf in Grimmauld Place. "Kreacher!" I exclaimed. He looked surprised, but relaxed and said, "Miss Lyra! How are you?" "Kreacher, where's Sirius? Tell me! Where is he?" "Miss Lyra ... why is you so frightened? Master has ... " He paused, and I yelled, "Kreacher, tell me? Where's Sirius?" "Master is ... Master has not ... " I felt a sick sensation as Kreacher's last words were drowned out. An iron grip tightened around my arm and I felt myself flying through the network again. "Kreacher!" I screamed, but only ended up gasping and choking from inhaling the cinders and ashes in the fireplace. Once my head was back in the office, I was still gasping for air-but not because of the fireplace. Umbridge was holding onto the neck of my robes so tightly I couldn't breathe. "You children think you can outsmart me after all those nasty things happened around the school? I'm not a bit surprised that Mr. Potter would dare to do something like this, but as for you, Miss Tonks, you never struck me as a troublemaker." Always the invisible wall. Right. "Please step outside, Miss Tonks, and do not run away. I repeat, do

not run away. I will deal with you in a moment, but first I would like to interrogate Mr. Potter and Miss Granger in order to find out what they're up to now and why they have recruited you as their accomplice." I felt like I was sinking. Sirius wasn't at home and we were wasting time being lectured by a toad lady. I tried to stay conscious as I left the room, each step feeling like I was wearing iron boots. It would be so must easier just to pass out and let everything else work itself out, but Sirius could be dying, or worse, he could be already dead. No, I couldn't think that ... I was sliding out of focus. The shock and stress of everything made me dazed. I was going to pass out; I couldn't think. Everything was slipping away ... Sirius could be dead, I thought. He's being tortured undoubtedly by the Cruciatus Curse. The same curse my mother used on me ... the same curse I once used ... I blacked out.

Hospital wing again. A wave of both extreme relief and extreme dread hit me at the same time. The sky outside was still a sunset, so maybe I had not been unconscious for that long! I could still save Sirius! Then the dread part came: maybe it was days later. Maybe Harry and the others had already saved Sirius. Or maybe ... Maybe Sirius was dead. "No," I whispered, and my voice came out weak and hoarse. "No ... no, he's not ... he can't be ... " I shot up from the bed. There was nobody else in the room, not even Madam Pomfrey. I could leave and find the others. I could find out what happened with Sirius. My wand. It was on the table beside me. I grabbed it and ran out the door. My head spun from nerves and the force of getting up so quickly. I felt thankful that Madam Pomfrey had not caught me. Once outside of the ward, I didn't know which way to go. Were they still in Umbridge's office, or were they in the dorms? I decided to walk by the office, just in case. It was risky business, but it was worth it, I decided. I was doing it for Sirius.

As I hurried down the staircase in a frenzied panic, I saw a student. It was Hannah Abbott, a Hufflepuff from the D.A. This was great. Just meeting anyone was perfect. "Hannah!" I exclaimed, panting heavily. "Have you seen Harry anywhere? Or Hermione, or anyone?" "Yeah," Hannah said, looking confused. "I saw Harry and Hermione go to the grounds with Umbridge behind them. I don't know what was going on, though." "Thank you!" I wheezed, and dashed off again. When I reached the grounds, my heart leapt. Harry, Ron, Hermione, Ginny, Luna, and now Neville were all at the forest's edge. I ran closer to them, noticing Harry and Hermione were extremely scratched up and covered in blood. They all seemed to be arguing. I skidded to a halt in front of them just as Harry said, "Yes, and I'm sure Sirius is still alive, but I can't see how we're going to get there to help him." Sirius. Alive. My eyes widened. "Harry," I croaked. "What time is it? How did everything ... what happened?" They all looked surprised to see me. "How did you escape the hospital wing?" Ginny asked. "Doesn't matter. Harry, how do we get to London?" "Well, we'll have to fly, won't we?" Luna said. [*] "Okay," Harry said, getting even more irritated (if that was possible), "first of all, we' aren't doing anything if you're including yourself in that, and second of all, Ron's the only one with a broomstick that isn't being guarded by a security troll, so - " [*] "I've got a broom!" [*] Ginny protested. "Yeah, but you're not coming," [*] Ron told her. Bickering, bickering! We had no time for this! "Listen, we're all going," I said. "We're all in the D.A. You can't stop us, Harry. There's no leader in this, so let's just find a way to get to

London and go with it. There's no reason for you to not let us go, nor is there anything to stop us." "Fine! Fine, then! How do we get there? Any ideas, Lindsey?" "We fly," Luna said plainly. "Look." Thestrals! Harry was petting one on the head, though to me it looked like he was just stroking air. Well, that would certainly work, though I would much rather see what I was riding. Then again, it was the only way to rescue him. Harry, Neville, and Luna each got on a thestral. Ron, Hermione, Ginny, and I stood there, wondering how to get on something we couldn't see. "What?" [**] Harry asked. "How're we supposed to get on?" Ron asked. "When we can't see the things?" [**] "Oh, it's easy," Luna said. "Come here..." She helped each of us onto a thestral. I found the mane of mine and gripped it tightly, staying as still as I could so I wouldn't slip off. A few seconds later, each thestral was rising into the air and the seven of us were flying into the sky. The thestrals flew fast, which was good, but I kept feeling like I would fall off. I tightened my hold on the mane of the horse. The sky became gray as we flew over Muggle towns. As we flew, I thought of how I wasn't sure how Harry knew Sirius was gone in the first place, but it didn't matter. My stomach lurched as I realized Kreacher had never actually proved Sirius was gone. Maybe we were all flying to our deaths ... Eventually the thestrals flew downward. We were in London, we were about to touch the ground. The thestrals landed and we were outside a telephone box covered with vandalism, looking faded in the streetlights. We all got into the telephone box. It was as cramped as could be. Harry said, "Whoever's nearest the receiver, dial six two four four two!" [***] Apparently Ron was closest. He dialed this number and a strange automatic female voice said, "Welcome to the Ministry of Magic. Please state your name and business." [***]

The floor began to descend underground into the Ministry. We hit the bottom, the Atrium. It appeared to be empty. The door opened and we all fell out. It was silent except for a flowing fountain. We followed Harry to several sets of lifts. He pressed the down button on the closest one. The golden grilles around the lift opened. We went in, Harry pressed the button for level nine, the grilles closed, and we descended again. End Notes: [*] Quotes taken from the American Edition of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, page 761 [**] page 764 [***] page 768 Sorry for using so many. It was hard to avoid. Back to index Chapter 22- An Unexpected Twist by Lyra Lestrange Author's Notes: Sorry about the wait! At first it was because school was busy, with it winding down and all, and I was on vacation the past week and really didn't have time to write, but in between then, er...I was lazy :P I really hope you enjoy the end of the chapter. This will be very important later! Oh, and I hope Lyra's little detour provides an interesting piece that doesn't happen in the book. ~Chapter 22- An Unexpected Twist~ We stepped out of the lift and into a corridor. It was empty with the exception of a few burning torches. Harry instinctively set off toward a large black door. When he reached it, he argued and said a few of us should stay behind as a lookout. After we all assured him we weren't leaving, he opened the door. Inside was a black, circular room. Several black doors without handles surrounded the place. The only color came from the blue torches on the walls. Neville shut the door; the place went completely black except for the candles. The open door had provided some light, but now we couldn't see. Then, the walls unexpectedly began to spin so rapidly we could only see streaks of blue light from the candles. We discussed which door to take and Harry mentioned something about a dream. H had visited the Department of Mysteries in his dreams. If it was a dream, Sirius probably wasn't here!

"Harry!" I whispered as we walked toward a door. "Did you say dreams? If you just dreamt that Sirius was here - " "I didn't dream it," he said furiously. "Then how - " "Shhhh!" He opened the door. Inside this new room there were a few desks and a giant tank of green water that contained several pearly-white objects that drifted around. Hermione realized they were brains. We walked up to the tank. Upon closer inspection, there was no denying that the floating objects were brains. Feeling rather disgusted, I stepped back just as Harry announced we should try another door. Of course, this whole room was surrounded by more doors. The place was huge. Where was Sirius? We went back to the first room. Hermione conveniently drew a bright X on the door with her wand before the room spun again. When the walls finished revolving, the fiery mark was still there. The next room was rectangular and sloped to form a pit in the center. Benches of stone surrounded the middle. Right dead center was a crumbling stone archway with worn curtains. It gave off an eerie air and seemed to sway lightly. "Who's there?"[1] Harry called. "Careful!"[1] Hermione warned in a whisper. Harry walked toward the archway. "Sirius?"[1] he said. "Let's go," [2] Hermione insisted. "This isn't right, Harry, come on, let's go ... " But Harry stood, staring at the veil. I felt butterflies in my stomach. There was definitely something odd here: the way Harry was drawn to it, the eerie swaying ... I agreed with Hermione, I wanted to leave. We went back to the first room after a bit more persuasion. Hermione marked this door with her wand as well. Then the room spun and stopped. Harry went to a new door and tried to open it, but it was locked. Hermione's Alohomora spell wouldn't open it either. "Let's try the next one; that one won't open!" I tried to tell them as

Harry tried to use a knife to unlock the door. I twisted the doorknob of the next door over. To my surprise and horror, a gaping black hole emerged and made the sound of swishing wind. Sharp, sparkling white edges appeared around every side-teeth, maybe? Before I could scream, the air was sucked from my lungs and I was pulled in, scraped by several razor-sharp points. I was in a different room. Where were the others? I screamed at the top of my lungs, but it got me nowhere. Nobody was here. The room around me was pitch black, my robes were now tattered, and I could feel sharp, stinging scratches against my whole body. "Lumos!" was the only logical thing to say. I was afraid of what I would see. Those black hole-mouth things with the teeth covered every inch of the wall, and once light shined upon them they made the wind noise again. However, there was a door at the other end. I dashed for it and flung it open without thinking that another black hole could have been lurking in that one. But no, I was in the room with the stone archway again. I sighed with relief. I knew how to get back to the others. I saw Harry and Hermione bickering as soon as I returned. "We have to save her, Harry!" Hermione exclaimed. "We don't have time! Sirius needs us!" "So does Lindsey! It's not one or the other, Harry, and she's right through there!" "I'd rather not have my skin sheared off by those teeth, thank you." "Oh, come on, they were tiny! Sharp, but tiny! We would survive - " "There she is," Luna told them. "Harry, I don't want to leave the group, but if I have to in order to save her-oh!" She had noticed me standing there. "There you are. That's a relief. Oh, you're bleeding all over!" She waved her wand. A warm feeling came over my body and just like that, my tiny but awfully painful cuts were healed. "Thanks," I muttered. "This is no time for thank yous!" Harry exploded. "This is no time for anyone to leave the group. This is no time to rescue a damsel in distress. If you want to rescue Sirius, you stick with us!" "Right," I said, trying to keep the hurt out of my voice. "I was just

trying to help." And I'm sorry the godson gets to be the leader of the group, as opposed to the blood relative. "Let's go," Harry growled. Once in the next room, he said, "This is it!" [3] and I felt a small amount of relief. It was a sparkling, glittering room with numerous amounts of clocks. Harry, looking excited, led us through another door at the end. This room was full of shelves containing glass orbs. They glowed slightly in the blue candlelight. "You said it was row ninety-seven," [4] Hermione whispered. Ninety-seven, I thought. Row ninety-seven. We were in fifty-three. Hermione was the first to find it. This was it. We were going to rescue Sirius. We were going to save him from Voldemort. He was right down this row... We reached the end, and Harry began to search frantically. There was no sign of anything. "Harry?" [5] Hermione asked. "What?" [5] Harry said fiercely. "I...I don't think Sirius is here." [6] It had to be true. He wasn't here. Sirius wasn't here. Then where was he? Was he in the Department of Mysteries at all, or was he comfortably at home in Grimmauld Place? Why did Harry lead us here? He'd been so sure that Sirius wasn't at Headquarters. I couldn't think straight anymore. This could have been a trap. Voldemort had probably led Harry to his death here, somehow, and we'd all be killed in the process. I took deep breaths, trying not to pass out, not now...I didn't even care that the others had found a glass orb that had Harry's name on it. Harry, curiosity getting the better of him, grabbed the orb off the shelf. That was a stupid move. A second later, a cold, dark voice said, "Very good, Potter. Now turn around, nice and slowly, and give that to me." [7] It was Lucius Malfoy. He held out his hand, asking for the glass ball. Several dark shapes were now appearing in front of us. They blocked our path, pointed their wands at us ...

Death Eaters. I tried to keep my gasps for air as silent as possible in this situation. It wasn't going well. I was feeling faint again. Harry demanded to know where his godfather was. The Death Eaters laughed; a woman's voice said, "The Dark Lord always knows!" [8] I couldn't help it. I gasped loudly and clapped my hand over my mouth. I knew that voice. The woman cackled evilly. "Always," Malfoy said. "Now, give me the prophecy, Potter." [8] "I want to know where Sirius is!" [8] "I want to know where Sirius is!" [8] the voice said. I felt my heart racing at top speed. This couldn't be happening. There was no way, no possible way, for me to stay conscious in this situation. "The little baby woke up fwightened and fort what it dweamed was twoo," [9] my mother mocked. Mother. Oh, no. This was it, for sure. My identity was most likely about to be spilled. People would find out I was her daughter! I couldn't hear Harry giving commands to everyone. It took all my strength, willpower, and self-control to keep my rising panic under control. It would be so much easier if I just fainted. I wouldn't have to deal with anything. But I made myself stay awake for Sirius's sake ... I could help save him ... if he was even here ... When Harry refused to give in to Lucius' demands, it was time to pull out wands. "Lindsey," Hermione whispered, almost inaudibly. "Ready? Are ... are you okay?" She must have seen my face, so full of panic. I was sweating and was probably paler than a ghost. I held up my wand with a shaking hand. Everything happened so fast in the next second. Harry refused to hand over the orb so Bellatrix tried to Summon it. Harry blocked it and almost dropped it; Lucius screamed in panic at the thought of the precious whatever-it-was being smashed.

Bellatrix removed her hood, and I gasped again without meaning to. I covered my mouth instinctively again. It was uncalled for. I had seen her face before, so why did it matter now? It probably mattered because now, with her hood removed to reveal her true face, people would probably see it in me now. At least it was dark ... Harry was able to stall the Death Eaters by threatening to smash the prophecy they were so interested in. He tried to keep them talking about it while the others thought of an escape plan - at least I hoped that's what they were doing, because I couldn't think. Even as he passed on a plan as he tried to stall some more, through my panic I couldn't exactly hear what he was telling us. "NOW!" [10] he yelled in the middle of Lucius Malfoy's speech. The other five yelled, "REDUCTO!" [10] and several red curses flew and hit the shelves. The orbs exploded and glass rained down on us. We all ran. I lost the others and disappeared behind the first door I approached. The others weren't in here. They must have hid in a different room. From outside, I heard Lucius Malfoy said, "Leave Nott, leave him, I say, the Dark Lord will not care for Nott's injuries as much as losing that prophecy - Jugson, come back here, we need to organize! We'll split up into pairs and search, and don't forget, be gentle with Potter until we've got the prophecy, you can kill the others if necessary Bellatrix, Rodolphus, you take the left - " [11] Where was I, where was I? Left, right, center? I visualized the quick escape in my head. Which door did I take? Oh, no. The left. They were coming. Bellatrix and Rodolphus were coming my way. "Colloportus," I said as I pointed my wand toward the door. It locked. I didn't pay attention to whatever was in this room. All I did was find a large black desk. I hid under it just in time; a voice outside screamed, "ALOHOMORA!" The door flew open and my parents came in. I felt the strangest sensation in the world-here I was, hiding under a desk, seeing my father for the first time ever, but running away and hiding from both my parents. "There's a child!" Rodolphus exclaimed. "Avada - "

"NO!" Bellatrix screamed, and I heard his wand clatter on the floor. "You heard what Lucius said - if it's Potter, we'll smash the prophecy!" "I - right," Rodolphus said. "Well, we should have whoever's under there come out. If it's not Potter, we'll kill them." Bellatrix cackled and said, "Come out, come out! Which little kiddie is hiding under the desk?" I had no choice but to show myself. I slowly slid out from under the desk feet first. Keeping my panic under control as best I could, I stood up and faced them. "Ha, ha!" Bellatrix screamed triumphantly, but Rodolphus gasped. "Bella ... look at her!" "I know!" Bellatrix exclaimed. "Look who we've caught!" "No ... don't you realize who she is? Bella, don't you recognize her?" "Of course I recognize her!" Bellatrix exclaimed madly. "I told you already, I ran into her last February!" She turned to me now, her wand raised. "Look at you," she said, shaking her head. "Shame. You would have made a great Death Eater, if only you'd allowed me to take you. Well, I guess it's over for you." "Wait!" Rodolphus said, so spontaneously I jumped. "Hold on. Don't kill her." "Why not?" Bellatrix said furiously. "Look at all the trouble she's caused! She came here with Potter!" "No," Rodolphus said. He walked closer to me. I had no idea what was coming. What was he doing? Did he want to kill me himself? "Wow," he said. "You look ... so much like both of us." He sighed. "Well, it's quite a shame you didn't choose the right path. Carry on, Bella." He walked back to his wife's side. I felt something hot on my face and realized I had started crying. I sobbed, regretting it as soon as the sound came out. Bellatrix looked at me with that mad face. She smiled slyly and raised her wand. "You do realize why we're doing this, don't you, Lyra?" I nodded my head and sobbed again.

"Well, this is the end. I'm sorry it had to end up like this. If you want to save yourself, you could change your mind now." I tried to talk, but my lips moved with no sound. "What's that?" Bellatrix asked. "What did you say?" "I said that would be selfish. I wouldn't switch sides just to save my life." My voice was so quiet I was surprised they had even heard. Bellatrix smiled again and shook her head. "Well, here we go." She pointed her wand directly at me chest. I began to hyperventilate. This wasn't supposed to be painful ... was it? I nearly fainted from shock when Bellatrix just stood there with her wand pointed. She sighed and sank to her knees with her head in her hands. "I can't do it. I can't kill our daughter. You do it, Rodolphus." For the first time ever, her voice didn't have that insane tone. My mouth hung open. She wasn't going to kill me? Since when did Bellatrix Lestrange show any mercy? "Bella, I can't. She's on the wrong side, but she is our daughter." There was so much, so much shining in his brown eyes, but I couldn't name what it was. Nonetheless, I never thought I would see Rodolphus Lestrange with that look in his eyes. It confused me so much that I almost asked what he was thinking. There was definitely sorrow, pain, and pity, but nothing like anger or thirst for vengeance. I opened my mouth. I wasn't sure what I was about to say, but before I could try to formulate my words, my father spoke again. "Family," he muttered. "It should mean more than this. Blood shouldn't spill blood." "You ... you're right," Bellatrix said, with a bewildered look on her face, as if she really couldn't believe she was saying this. Yet I was stunned by the trace of compassion in her voice, however miniscule it was. "Lyra, listen to me. Leave now and we won't let anyone hurt you. Just get away from Potter, because the Dark Lord will kill him. He won't show any mercy for you, even if you are our daughter." "Go on, Lyra. You can leave now," Rodolphus said. "You should go, before we change our minds." But his mind was made up, regardless of anything.

I nodded, staring at them. "Th - thanks," I muttered. "I - I guess I'll ... go." Without another word, I left the room and reappeared in the circular room we had first arrived in. I gasped for breath, more from shock and surprise than panic. That was an unexpected twist. End Notes: [1] Quotes taken from the American edition of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, page 773 [2] page 774 [3] page 776 [4] page 777 [5] page 778 [6] page 779 [7] page 780 [8] page 781 [9] page 782 [10] page 787 [11] page 788

That took a lot of numbers! There aren't particularly a lot of quotes; they're just taken from a lot of different pages. I had to use numbers instead of asteriskes this time. Back to index Chapter 23- Blood Spills Blood by Lyra Lestrange ~Chapter 23- Blood Spills Blood~ But it wasn't fair. I couldn't leave the others behind. If I escaped and they all died, I would never forgive myself. For a long minute, I stood there with my head in my hands. I had to go back. I didn't know where the action was now, though. I leaned against the wall for another minute, thinking. There were so many rooms here. It was impossible to predict which one everyone was in.

I didn't have to wait long. Without warning the doors to the circular room opened and five people rushed in - Lupin, Mad-Eye, Dora, Kingsley, and Sirius. Sirius. He was here! Voldemort had never held him hostage at all! They each illuminated their wands and a moment later I heard the surprised scream - "LINDS!" Dora ran toward me, her wand shining in my face. "You - what are you doing here?" Both amazement and rage made her voice sound different. "I - I came - " "Tonks, there's no time!" Sirius said. "We have to capture the others before the Death Eaters - " As if those words were enough, the Death Eaters walked through a door. It was the room with the veil. "Linds, you should go back," Dora whispered to me as we were right at the doorway. "I don't want you to get hurt." "No," I said. "I want to fight." "Please, Lindsey! Please, just ... " "I'm not leaving alone!" She sighed in defeat and we walked into the room. It was chaos. Death Eaters shot spells everywhere. Dora immediately stunned Lucius Malfoy and moved on to Bellatrix. Kingsley was fighting two Death Eaters at once, and it seemed that Harry and Neville were the last of our party left. The others hadn't been ... killed, had they? Where were Ron, Hermione, Ginny, and Luna? A Death Eater approached me and yelled, "Stupefy!" "Protego!" I yelled back, blocking the spell, and then, "Petrificus Totalus!" His body froze up and he fell. I was slightly surprised by my own strength and quick thinking. I paused for a second to stare at his petrified body and then walked off. There wasn't any time to waste.

Bellatrix was dueling with Dora. Dora was hit by a jet of light and she fell, unconscious. Her body began to roll down the stone steps. Bellatrix screamed in triumph and began to run off. "Oh, no ... Dora, no ... please be okay ... " I muttered as I headed toward my cousin's limp body. She was knocked out and unmoving, but I could tell she was breathing. Thinking about whether I should move her or not, I heard that voice scream, "I thought I told you to leave!" Bellatrix was coming at me, her wand raised. "Well ... I didn't!" I said. "I wanted to fight! Don't you understand I couldn't leave?" "You - well then, this is certainly your end. However, it would satisfy me greatly if I could play with you before I finished you off. Cruc - " "Don't - touch - her." Sirius had faced Bellatrix with his wand pointed at her heart. He wore a look to kill on his face. She turned and laughed. "Sirius, my dear cousin. It's been way too long." "Sure has," he growled. "I guess you know my daughter, then?" "I sure do. And I'm about to fight for her. Don't you realized what you've put her through, being locked in Azkaban all these years?" She glared at him with pure hatred. "She's my daughter. I'm perfectly aware of what she's been through - " "Or so you think?" Sirius snarled. "You've been in her life for what one year? One year she can't even remember?" "You - Crucio!" "Stupefy!" Sirius's red light knocked Bellatrix back, but her curse had caused him to fall to the ground in pain. He was up in a second, and the two faced each other, sending spells of different colors in every direction. I was rooted in place, watching the duel. Bellatrix, with an intense expression on her face, yelled, "Avada Kedavra!"

I gasped, but Sirius managed to dodge it by ducking and moving backwards. The two were near the veil now ... I was so petrified by this scene that I missed the moment the prophecy smashed as well as the one where Dumbledore Dumbledore, the only one Voldemort had ever feared - appeared in the room! He easily cast several fighting Death Eaters aside. Only a few were still in the battle. Sirius and Bellatrix, so wrapped up in their duel, did not realize Dumbledore was there. Bellatrix sent a red spell at Sirius; he dodged and laughed. "Come on, you can do better than that!" [*] he yelled at her. She sent another jet of light at him, which hit him right in the chest. His eyes widened. I gasped again. "Sirius ... no ... no ... " He looked afraid as he slowly fell. His body disappeared into the veil. The drapes fluttered for a moment, and he was gone. Bellatrix cried out triumphantly. "Sirius," I whispered. "Where are you? It's just a veil ... just a stone archway ... " He should have reappeared. Where was he? I heard Harry yell from above me. "SIRIUS! SIRIUS!" [**] He dashed toward the veil, wondering where his godfather had gone. I wondered the same thing. He couldn't be ... dead ... the spell was red, not green! Killing Curses were green ... so he would come back. "He'll come back," I mouthed soundlessly as Harry continued to run to the veil. Lupin ran over and grabbed him tightly. He began to tell him something, words I couldn't hear. I ran to Bellatrix. She was still standing by the archway. "What did you do to him?" I yelled. "Where is he? Bring him back; tell me where he's gone!" She laughed viciously again, and this time the most evil smile of all spread across her face. "Don't you get it, Lyra?" she whispered. "He's gone. I knocked him through the veil. I can't bring him back because he won't come back. He's dead. I killed him!" "NO!" I screamed. "YOU DIDN'T KILL HIM! HE HAS TO BE ALIVE! SIRIUS!" I ran toward the veil as well, about to pull apart the drapes with my hands when I felt a firm hand around my waist. "Don't," said the voice of Mad-Eye Moody. "You can't save him now. He's dead."

"NO!" I screamed again with pain in my voice. And Bellatrix dashed off. My grief was so strong I couldn't hear Harry's struggle with Lupin. Mad-Eye held me firmly against him. I tried to escape, but he was too strong. "Lindsey, you can't do anything!" he said harshly. "YES, I CAN! I'LL GET HER BACK! I'LL KILL HER!" "You can't kill her! You don't know who you're dealing with!" "I KNOW VERY WELL WHO I'M DEALING WITH! NOW LET ME GO!" "No!" "Crucio!" I couldn't believe I had done it again, but Mad-Eye fell in pain. Lupin, from the tiny glimpse I caught of his face, looked completely surprised. I didn't care. I ran out of the room, wanting nothing more than revenge. I was in the Atrium in a matter of minute. Surprisingly, I didn't feel faint at all. Instead I was so wrathful that I was shaking with burning rage. I found her by the fountain. She was walking ... no, she was skipping with joy at her accomplishment. "YOU!" I bellowed. "YOU KILLED HIM!" She turned around and laughed. "Yes, I did, Lyra. Yes, I did." "You - I can't - how could - " "You honestly think I would spare him just because I was his cousin?" "No! But ... you ... you ... " You' was about all I could say as I heard footsteps coming. Harry. He was coming to avenge Sirius as well. He hid behind the statue without seeming to notice me. "Come out, come out, little Harry!" [***] Bellatrix mocked. "What did you come after me for, then? I thought you were here to avenge my

dear cousin!" "I am!" [***] Harry shouted. "Aaaaaah...did you love him, little baby Potter?" [***] Then Harry - quite unexpectedly - did the same thing I had done. "Crucio!" [***] She screamed and fell but didn't show any signs of pain. She was on her feet seconds later. "Never used an Unforgivable Curse before, have you, boy? You need to mean them, Potter! You need to really want to cause pain - to enjoy it - righteous anger won't hurt me for long - I'll show you how it is done, shall I? I'll give you a lesson - Crucio!" [***] He ducked and dodged. She began to move toward him, seeming to forget I was there. I seized the moment. The worst I could do was torture her, and I really wanted it. Like she had just said, you had to want to cause pain ... "Crucio!" came from my mouth, and she fell again with a scream. Only this time, it lasted a few seconds longer than when Harry had used it. "Lindsey, what the - ?" Harry began, but stopped. Bellatrix glared at me, clearly surprised that someone my age could perform such a powerful Cruciatus Curse. "Yes!" I yelled at her. "I can do it!" She smiled. "Well, Lyra, you seem to have picked up something from me - " I saw Harry's expression and he looked as confused as ever. Comprehension seemed to appear on his face for a second and he said quietly, "Oh, yeah ... she's your aunt, isn't she!" "No!" I yelled, my wand pointed at Bellatrix. "She's not my aunt, she's my mother! And she killed her own cousin! She's the next to die!" "Your ... ?" "My mother, that's right!" I yelled. Everything was coming out now. Not once did the fact that the Ministry was keeping this quiet cross my mind, because all I cared about was attacking Bellatrix. "She left

me when I was a year old because she got arrested!" This caused enough anger to crash down on me that I yelled "Crucio!" again. Bellatrix fell, but it still didn't last long. Bellatrix eventually seemed to think my curses were nothing more than the equivalent a paper cut, and she turned to Harry again. "Potter, I am going to give you one chance! Give me the prophecy roll it out toward me now - and I may spare your life!" [****] "Well, you're going to have to kill me, because it's gone! And he knows! You dear old Voldemort knows it's gone! He's not going to be happy with you, is he?" [****] "What? What do you mean?" [****] For the first time ever, I heard a hint of fear. I stood there through the screaming, wishing I could summon the strength to curse her again. She was right there, just a target in plain view. I think she had forgotten I was there once again (what else was new?). I raised a shaky hand as I prepared to execute my final revengeful curse, but I stopped, frozen with fear, when an allnew voice entered the conversation. It was cold and high-pitched. I turned and saw a snakelike man with pale, white skin and red cat eyes. For the first time in my life, I was looking straight at Lord Voldemort. This was too much to handle. I knew it was coming now, and I accepted it as I blacked out and hit the stone floor. End Notes: [*] Quote taken from the American Edition of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, page 805 [**] page 806 [***] page 810 [****] page 811 Reviews are nice! :) Back to index Chapter 24- Aftermath by Lyra Lestrange Author's Notes: Two chapters away from part three... ~Chapter 24- Aftermath~ I was actually surprised to find myself in the Hogwarts hospital wing

when I woke up. After everything that had happened, I figured I would end up at St. Mungo's. I guess I had never really gotten hurt. Just traumatized. Yet again, I didn't know how long I had been asleep. It seemed that the last thing I had seen - Voldemort's face - had been ages ago. My head had a bump on it, but other than that I wasn't hurt. Well, I wasn't physically hurt. As soon as I thought the words, I'm injured, but it's not too serious, his name came into my head. Sirius. He was dead and gone. Bellatrix had killed him. I shook my head. It didn't seem true. I had seen him fall through the archway, but it hadn't really ... sunk in yet. Andromeda was in the wing. I saw her talking to Madam Pomfrey. As soon as she saw I was awake, she ran over to me with a relieved expression on her face. "Andromeda," I croaked once she had approached. "I'm so sorry. I shouldn't have left Hogwarts grounds." She shook her head and hugged me, not saying a word. Once she was facing me again, she said, "It's okay. We have other matters to discuss." Her voice was so low, so compassionate, and yet so serious. I wondered what could be worse than Sirius dying. I was positive the Order had told her this much. So what else? Oh, no. Dora. What happened to her?" "Andromeda, what happened to Dora?" I demanded, panic rising in the pit of my stomach and coming out in my voice. "Is she okay? Is she here?" I felt my heart pounding. Sirius was already dead. Surely he was the only one ... She closed her eyes and held up a hand to silence me. "She'll be fine. At least, that's what the Healers say." "Healers. She went to St. Mungo's?" "Yes, and she hasn't awoken yet. She should; we just don't know when." Her eyes were still closed. I knew there was more. "Andromeda, what else happened?"

She exhaled and said, "Lyra, I'm afraid that ... that there's no secret anymore." "Secret?" "Your ... your ... identity. I felt it was best to tell the Order, and only the Order, just because of the way you acted in the Department of Mysteries. You know ... the curse you used on Mad-Eye, and going after her ... " I swallowed. "So only the Order knows now? I guess that's ... " "No," she interrupted. "One of the members decided to tell everyone. He said it was best for all of the Hogwarts students' parents to know that the Lestranges' daughter went here. He told ... the Prophet." "No," I said, feeling slightly sick. "No - that can't - that's not how - I never wanted it to be like that! Andromeda, who was it? Who told?" She sighed. "Severus Snape." "Professor Snape?" I blurted louder than I had intended. To my surprise, Madam Pomfrey shushed me loudly from her desk. Andromeda nodded. "He said it was best. The Order is furious with him, of course." "It's just like ... like when he told the whole school that Lupin was a werewolf. I can't believe this. Andromeda, I know I said that it was what I always wanted, but now that it's really happened ... " It hit me then. When all the students around me had talked about their hopes and dreams, such as I want to be an Auror' or I want to be a famous Quidditch player,' I always thought I want to be myself.' That had always been my dream: to know who I was. I now realized this had always been possible. Those kids could become Aurors and Quidditch players, but I could never become Lyra Lestrange in the way I wanted. As Lindsey Tonks I had more freedom. I could be whoever I wanted, to a degree. But as Lyra Lestrange, I would always carry the name that everybody loathed. I guess dreams can come true. So much for that. As everything fell into place in my head, I shook my head and fought tears. Andromeda hugged me and said softly, "I know. I know." No reassurance, no advice, no I'm sorry.' Just "I know. I know."

"But do you think," I finally said, trying my luck at a single silver lining, "that since people know I'm not really like my parents, they'll still ... treat me the same, and not be prejudiced?" I really hoped she would give me the answer I wanted, but I read the expression on her face. "Lyra, you have to understand that You-Know-Who revealed himself the other night and now that people know who you are, they'll only see your parents in you. I'm really sorry. I wish it could be different." I felt tears in my eyes at last. That explained why Madam Pomfrey had hushed me so loudly. I saw her staring over at me with an unreadable expression, but it wasn't happy by any means. "It's not fair," I whispered. "I'm not like them." "I know that. But listen to me: Madam Pomfrey is treating you and as soon as you're well enough to leave, which should be tomorrow, I'm taking you to St. Mungo's, even if Nymphadora isn't conscious. Right now you need to - " "Rest," I finished for her with a glum voice. "Yes," she said, giving me a final hug. "I have to leave now." I nodded my head and sank into the bed. Madam Pomfrey came over with a potion and made me drink it. When I had finished, she walked off with a final glare and I fell asleep, despite the millions of things on my mind.

The next day, after taking my potions, Andromeda took me to St. Mungo's by floo powder. We found Dora's ward and went into her room. Remus Lupin was in there with her. He looked worried. "Lindsey," he said softly once he saw me. "Andromeda. Hello." I walked over to him and said, "Haven't you heard? It's Lyra now." My words were sharper than I had intended them to be. "I'm sorry," he said. "I have heard. But it doesn't matter whose daughter you are - you're still the same person." I choked back tears as I nodded to him. He was the only person who would see it that way. I looked over at Dora, lying unconscious on the hospital bed. Her hair was spiky and pink, her current favorite, but it was limp and uncared for. I looked to Lupin again and said,

"How is she?" "She seems okay," he said. "She was injured badly. She's been asleep for days. She's breathing fine, though." And then, as if she had heard us, her eyes opened. She blinked several times as her eyes moved to and from the faces of all three of us. Andromeda gasped. "You're awake!" "Yeah ... " she muttered so quietly I barely heard. "How long ... ?" "Days," Lupin said. "Remus," she whispered. "Remus, you're okay. And so are you, Linds. How ... how did you all escape?" I felt a lump in my throat as I said, "Dora, I'm not Lindsey anymore." "What?" She gave me a look of pure perplexity. "It's over," I said with a steely tone. Andromeda explained the whole thing again. It didn't take long for me to start crying this time. I felt ashamed, and knew it was only the beginning. We had not even reached the part about Sirius yet. "Linds ... I mean, Lyra, I'm so sorry. I can't believe Snape! What did Sirius say about this? He hates Snape; they always held a grudge against each other. What did he do when Snape spilled?" We all exchanged glances. Finally I said, "Dora ... Sirius is - he's ... " I felt more tears stream out as the true reality of the words hit me. "Dora, he's dead. Bellatrix killed him after you passed out." None of us spoke for several seconds as Dora tried to understand what I had said. The only sounds breaking the silence were my sniffs and sobs. "Oh, no ... " Dora said finally. "Oh ... it's my fault. It's my fault. It's my fault ... " She put her face in her hands and said this over and over. Lupin came to her side and said, "Tonks, it's not your fault. It was an accident. It was nobody's fault." "Yes, it is," Dora sobbed. "If I ... if I had just killed her, he wouldn't be dead! I should have killed Bellatrix, she deserved to die - " She stopped after a quick glance at Andromeda and me. "I mean ... I should have given her a good - " She used a few words I had never

heard her use in such a way before, and I had heard Dora use plenty of profanities. " - to remember me by. Then he would be alive. If I hadn't been so weak, if I wasn't such a pathetic Auror, Sirius wouldn't have had to step up for me. I failed. He's dead because of me." Lupin put a comforting arm around her. "Tonks, listen. Bellatrix Lestrange is a skilled Death Eater. She's Voldemort's most faithful servant. You can't blame yourself for being defeated by her. Nobody's blaming you." "But they should," she said with a sob. "It's my fault." "It's nobody's fault," Lupin repeated. I felt a little differently. It wasn't Dora's fault by any means, but Harry had led us to the Department of Mysteries. Harry had dreamed Sirius was there. Harry had nearly got us all killed by taking us there. And in the end, only one had died ...

I was back at Hogwarts that evening. I hated everything about it the way everyone was celebrating exams being over, the sun shining down over the castle, the usual end-of-the-year euphoria. It wasn't until the sun had completely set that I ventured to the grounds. I wanted to get out of the dormitory for a bit. I saw Harry out there. He was sitting near the lake, watching the dark water. I took a deep breath. I had to do this. I walked over to him and said, "Um, hi, Harry. I think ... " I didn't finish my sentence. He stared at the water for a few more seconds, before he looked at me. "Yeah," he said. "I owe you an explanation." "It ... well ... yeah, I suppose. I'm just curious, I guess. What led you to the Department of Mysteries?" He sighed (he was looking at the lake again) and said, "It's a long story. I can't really give you the details because I don't know everything myself. But, you see ... there's a connection between Voldemort and me. He can get into my mind. He's been doing it all year." I felt a sick surge. "He's ... been getting into...your mind?"

"Yes, but without knowing it." "Oh." "You see, Voldemort discovered the connection and was trying to lure me there. He knew I would want to save Sirius. He showed me Sirius being held hostage, but as you know, it wasn't really happening. He led me there because he wanted the weapon - the prophecy. That was the thing Sirius mentioned last summer." I bit my lip. Thinking of Sirius last summer, when I had first met him, was painful. I knew it would be impossible to get through this without tears. I held them back for now. "So ... " My voice trembled. "So ... did you find out how the Order knew ... and about Kreacher ... and all of that?" "Yeah," he said. "Dumbledore told me." "So why did Kreacher say Sirius was gone?" He paused for a minute and finally answered, "He lied. He lied to me because he could without having to punish himself. He wanted me to go to the Ministry. He knew things about Voldemort that he shouldn't have." I gasped. Not because of what Harry had said, but because of how Kreacher had acted when he had seen me. He would have listened to me! I was part of the family and he respected me! If Umbridge had not caught me so quickly, I would have been able to find out the truth! I felt the tears now. It wasn't Harry's fault or Dora's ... it was mine. "My fault ... " I said so quietly I was surprised Harry had heard. "What?" "It's my fault," I repeated. "Kreacher would have listened to me! I should have been quicker! We could have saved him!" "No," Harry said. "It's my fault. I should have let you talk to Kreacher. I didn't know he listened to you. I understand why now ... " Great. We had arrived at that subject. I really did not want to talk about it. "Anyway," I hurried on. "How did Kreacher know these things?"

He sighed. "Do you remember when Sirius couldn't find Kreacher at Christmas?" "Yes," I replied. "Well, Sirius told Kreacher to get out. Kreacher took his words to heart and left the house. That's why we couldn't find him. He went to the Malfoys. Narcissa Malfoy was the only Black he still respected. He passed Order secrets to her, who passed them to Lucius Malfoy, who told Voldemort." "I ... I can't believe it," I said. "How do you know this?" "Dumbledore looked into Kreacher's mind. Legilimency, you know. Anyway, when we were in Umbridge's office, Snape came in. It was right after you had passed out. I told him about Sirius in code. He acted like he didn't believe, but he told the Order that I had seen Sirius at the Ministry. Sirius, Lupin, Mad-Eye, Kingsley, and Tonks were at headquarters. They decided to go to the Ministry to check it out." I picked up what he said, but was still thinking about Kreacher. I asked, "What did Kreacher tell the Malfoys?" "He told them about the relationship I had with Sirius. He told them that I ... that I would undoubtedly rescue Sirius if he was captured. This was enough for Voldemort. The Malfoys told Kreacher to keep Sirius out of the way so that if I checked on him, he could lie about his whereabouts. He injured Buckbeak so Sirius could tend to him while we checked in. That was all it took. You know what came next." "Yes," I whispered. "It really is my fault," Harry said. "Everything is. Listen, I'm sorry about your - I mean, I read the Prophet and I never realized you had a secret and were trying to hide it." "I wasn't," I said flatly. "The Ministry was. Anyway, it doesn't matter. It's already happened." I felt bitter and angry right then. I certainly had not wanted things to happen like this. "I have a question for you," Harry said. "Did Sirius ... did he know?" "Yes," I said quietly. "I told him at Christmas." He nodded and continued to stare at the lake, lost in thought. I was

about to say I was going to leave. There wasn't much else to say. Then, Harry said, "I'm really sorry. I know you were close to him. I know he was your cousin." "Don't blame yourself. I know how close the two of you were." He stared at the lake again, and I said, "Well, I guess we're finished. Thanks for telling me everything."

The others had escaped without serious injury. Ginny had broken her ankle, Neville had received a bloody nose, Ron had been scarred by attacking brains, and Hermione was now taking several potions due to being hit with a Death Eater's curse. Ron and Hermione were the only ones who ended up needing hospital wing treatment. Umbridge was also in the hospital wing because she had been attacked by centaurs. Harry and Hermione had led her into the forest before they ran off to the Department of Mysteries. Since Dumbledore had returned, Umbridge wouldn't be retuning next year. That was the first good news I had heard in a while. The Prophet was reporting Voldemort's return left and right. Not much else was reported other than my secret, which produced a rather large article. When it was time to leave Hogwarts, I felt somewhat relieved. I wanted to get away from here. I just felt cooped up. I was alone in the dormitory when I was packing my trunk. The Hogwarts Express was coming later that day. I decided to skip the feast; I wasn't hungry. I began to load my books into my trunk. I shifted the items around, making room. At the bottom, I saw a long, perfectly polished stick of wood. I pulled it out. Several ink bottles and unused parchment rolls fell over in the process. It was the broomstick: the Firebolt Sirius had given me. I had never even used it. I ran my hands down the handle. Tears stung my eyes as I thought of him. Would he be disappointed if he knew I hadn't even touched the broom since Christmas? I gently placed it back in my trunk and quickly covered it with stacks of clothes. I didn't want to look at it. Thinking of Sirius was too painful. I shoved the last of my books into the trunk and shut it forcefully. I

went to sit on my bed and wait for the feast to be over. As soon as I sat down, I felt something hard. I sat up. I was sitting on something, a silver-wrapped box ... I had no idea what it was, but there was one of those stupid stamps on top, the kind that Umbridge stamped on packages after she checked them. My name - well, my former alias - was also written on it, so there was no mistaking the address. I opened it. Inside was an expensive, brand new Lunascope. It was silver, shiny, and exactly the kind of Lunascope I had always imagined owning. I looked into it. It was just like a star chart, only better. Perfect for Astronomy classes or just stargazing, the things I enjoyed. There was a simple piece of folded parchment at the bottom. I pulled it out and unfolded it, reading it aloud. "Lindsey, "I'm sorry your present came late. Tonks told me you like Astronomy, so I bought this for you. I ordered it from a catalog but it came late. I sent it to you as soon as the owl delivered it. I hope you like it. "I hope you're doing okay. Tonks told me what happened in February. I'm glad to hear you've recovered. "Again, I apologize for the lateness. I would have sent it to you sooner but the owl who delivered it seemed a little out of it. He was much too small to be carrying such a large package! I hope you enjoy it anyway. "Since the term's almost over, I expect I'll see you soon. Happy sixteenth. "Padfoot." When I finished reading, everything went blurry as tears filled my eyes. He was truly gone. I would never see his face again, ever. End Notes: No quotes from the book this time. Please review :) And enjoy HBP when it comes out! We've waited a long time for it :( Back to index Chapter 25- Going Back by Lyra Lestrange Author's Notes: Last chapter of part two!

~Chapter 25- Going Back~ I sat alone on the way back to London. When we arrived at King's Cross, the Order was waiting for us on the other side of the platform. Dora was among them, alive and well. Her hair was pink and spiky again and she was wearing patched jeans and a Weird Sisters tee. Yes, she was certainly back to normal. I went over to her; she pulled me into a hug. "How are you?" she asked. I sighed. "Okay." "Hey, listen ... " She seemed reluctant to tell me whatever was coming next. "After we talk to Harry's aunt and uncle, we have an Order meeting. I hate doing this to you, but you'll have to come. There isn't enough time to take you home." For a moment, I wasn't sure why she thought I wouldn't want to come. Then I thought of Grimmauld Place, now empty except for Buckbeak and Kreacher. It wouldn't be the same. I sighed again. "All right, then."

The moment we arrived in the square, I felt the tears coming. There was no possible way Grimmauld Place would be the same without Sirius. I couldn't care less if I ever went back. We opened the door. It was like dj vu: Kingsley greeted us and took us to the kitchen. Everybody else was there. Except this time, I didn't point my finger at Sirius and accuse Dora of falling into a trap. The thought of not doing this almost made me cry. "Lyra," Dora said, making me flinch. It was hard to get used to being called by my real name in public. "You can go anywhere. I'll be out in an hour." I nodded my head, trying to ignore the lump in my throat. It would be nice just to be alone for a while. I wouldn't have to hold back any tears. I walked quietly through the gloomy house. I reached the top floor where there were only two doors leading into rooms. One had Sirius's name on it. I went inside. It was his bedroom. There were pictures of Muggle motorcycles and even Muggle girls in bikinis. There was a single moving picture of the Marauders - Sirius, Lupin, James, and Peter Pettigrew. There were also several

Gryffindor banners, which were painful to look at. Remembering that Sirius and I were the only two Gryffindors in the Black family made my eyes wet with tears. It only took the smallest connection to make me think of him. I sank to my knees and sobbed with my head in my hands. It was all over, it really was. Sirius was gone, my own mother had murdered him, and my identity had been revealed to everyone. Nothing was ever going to be the same. I had no idea how long I had been sitting there, weeping. When I stopped, I went down to the drawing room. I wasn't sure what had led me there until I arrived. The tapestry. Sirius's burn mark stood out. I ran my finger over it. Dead or alive, it was as if he had never existed on the tree. My finger moved to Bellatrix's name. His cousin, his killer. Anger boiled inside me. Andromeda had said at Christmas that she hadn't always been so evil, and evil was definitely the right word. So what had happened? I was dying to know. Andromeda was one of the few who knew, but she probably didn't even know the whole story due to her betrayal. My finger moved down to Rodolphus's name. Was it because of him? Had he changed her? Or had it been her parents? Or Voldemort? Or Azkaban? Or a combination of several of those? I traced the golden line linking their names together. I moved down to the spot where my name belonged. No ... it didn't belong. I would have been burned off just like Sirius or Andromeda. I was a blood traitor without even trying to be one. CRACK. Kreacher appeared in the room. As soon as I saw him, my anger came back. "YOU!" I yelled at him. He laughed. "Miss Lyra, what is the problem? Is you disappointed because Master Sirius is dead?" "KREACHER!" He continued to chuckle as he rolled on the floor. I had never felt so much anger and rage - except for when I had confronted Bellatrix at the Department of Mysteries. I was shaking and fuming so much that, almost instinctively, I pulled out my wand. "Kreacher, you little murderer! I hate you! Why didn't you tell me

Sirius had been here all along?" He laughed harder. "Because Master Sirius deserved what he got!" "He did not!" "Master Sirius was never nice to Kreacher. Master Sirius - " "I don't care what Master Sirius thought about you. YOU KILLED HIM!" I advanced on him, my wand pointed at his chest. He immediately stopped laughing and a fearful look appeared in his eyes. "Miss Lyra ... no, you mustn't! Kreacher has not hurt you! Kreacher is a loyal elf!" "LIAR!" I yelled. "TRAITOR!" "Miss Lyra, please! Kreacher begs-" "CRUCIO!" It was more than enough. Kreacher howled in pain and writhed around on the floor. I would have continued - I was sure the curse would have killed him - if Dora and Lupin hadn't heard the screaming and busted through the door. "Lyra!" Dora exclaimed. "Stop that!" I turned and faced them with my wand still pointed, but the curse lifted from Kreacher. "Why?" I asked, anger beginning to dissolve and be replaced with sadness. "He practically killed him!" And then came the tears. "I know, but you don't need to kill him because of that!" Dora exclaimed, glancing at Kreacher. He was shaking. I fell to my knees with my face in my hands again. I had to stop. I really had to stop. I always did that when I became incensed and I really couldn't ... "It's time to leave," Dora said soothingly. "We need to go." I stood up, wiping my eyes as Dora said, "See you soon, Remus." "Yes," he said, pulling her into a hug. "We have some things to work

out. We'll need a new place for headquarters." She closed her eyes - an all-too-familiar look crossing her face - and nodded her head. "Yeah." Remus pulled away and turned to me. "I'll see you later, Lyra. I hope everything goes all right." He smiled at me as best he could, but it wasn't much. I saw the pain clouded in his eyes and remembered how close he had been to Sirius. I felt sudden sympathy for Remus-both of his best friends were dead now and Wormtail was working for Voldemort. I tried to smile back. "Yes, well ... we should go," Dora said. "Okay," Remus replied. "See you, then." With a final nod, Dora turned grabbed my arm and pulled me away. We were out the door in moments. She handed me my broom - I was on my old Comet Two-Sixty; I couldn't face the Firebolt - and began to take off. "What was that all about?" I snapped once we were high above the square. "What?" she asked with an exhausted tone. "That look on your face when he hugged you," I said. "I know that look, Dora." "It was nothing," she said, blushing slightly. "So don't attack me for it." "Yeah, right." "Just forget about that, all right?" she said. "Good. Then I suppose you'll forget about it too. He's way too old for you, anyway. And he's a werewolf ... " I trailed off, thinking back to last summer. Sirius had seen it coming. He told me that Dora and Lupin would get together, despite their major differences. Thinking about this brought back the tears. Sirius may have been right all along. Why? Why did she have to kill him? Why did Bellatrix have to become so evil? I couldn't stop thinking about this. As we flew

home, I resolved to find out everything about my family's past. I wanted to know how things had happened. I had to find out how Bellatrix was before, and how things came to be. It was just like that night back in February when I had gone stargazing. She was the star, Gamma Orionis ... once just a regular star, then a supernova. Or had she been regular? There were too many questions, but it didn't matter. I would uncover every answer. I would search for the past. I was determined to find out everything. END OF PART TWO. End Notes: Part three is coming soon! Stay tuned! And enjoy HBP if you haven't seen it! Back to index Chapter 26- Depression and Destruction by Lyra Lestrange Author's Notes: Part three is here just in time for HBP! This takes place during book six and is personally my favorite of the four parts. ~~PART THREE: SEARCHING FOR THE PAST~~ ~Chapter 29- Depression and Destruction~ The war had definitely begun. Voldemort had already destroyed a Muggle bridge, resulting in a mass-killing, and dementors had cast a gloomy mist everywhere. The Order had even lost a member to a murder carried out by Voldemort's followers. There was nothing anyone could do about it. The Wizarding community was trying their best, but all we managed to do was get Cornelius Fudge out of office. He had been replaced by Rufus Scrimgeour, previously head of the Auror office. I was sitting comfortably in a chair at home, looking out the window. The only thing that gave away the fact that this was summer was the heat. There was so much mist outside that the sun rarely came out. It suited my mood, though. I hadn't felt any happiness since before Sirius's death. Andromeda was in the kitchen cooking our dinner. Dora was sitting in another chair, staring ahead blankly with her head resting in one hand. Ted was reading the Prophet. "Have you heard about this?" he asked. "Harry Potter, the Chosen One?" "No," I answered. "But does it have anything to do with the Department of Mysteries event?"

"Yes," Ted said. "It says Harry Potter will have to be the one who kills He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, or so they predict. It has to do with that-what was it, Lyra? Prophecy?" "Yeah." I continued to stare at the gloomy atmosphere outside when an owl tapped on the window. "I'll get it," I said morosely as I got up from my chair and opened the window. The tiny owl fluttered in with a purple pamphlet addressed to us. I took it from him, gave him a bronze Knut, and went to sit back down as he flew off. "What's that?" Dora asked me. I shrugged and read the front page of the pamphlet. "Issued on behalf of the Ministry of Magic: Protecting your home and family against dark forces." "Oh, yeah," Dora said. "We made those at the Ministry." She continued to stare blankly again. I began to read the info out loud. "The Wizarding community is currently under threat from an organization calling itself the Death Eaters ... yeah, yeah, we know," I muttered, once I realized nobody in the room was listening. I began to read in my head. Don't leave the house alone ... obvious. Try not to go out at night ... be aware of Shield and Disillusionment charms, Side-Along Apparition ... there were bits on Polyjuice Potion and the Imperius Curse ... it wasn't until I read the very last point that I came across any confusion. "Hey ... " I said. "It says Death Eaters may be using Inferi. What are Inferi?" That caught everyone's attention. Dora's eyes lost the blank look, Ted looked at me from over the newspaper, and Andromeda had frozen in the middle of stirring something in the kitchen. "Inferi," Andromeda began, "Are dead bodies that have been bewitched to serve the Death Eaters. You-Know-Who used to have several armies of them ... he killed enough people ... " She trailed off, not wanting to say anything else.

I didn't want to hear anything else. The thought was already making me sick, even more so when I thought of how my parents could have aided Voldemort in creating Inferi but killing people. Dora sighed and stood up. "Mum, I can't stay for dinner. We have a meeting tonight." Andromeda, looking somewhat disappointed, turned and said, "Well ... yes, okay." "I should go now. I'll see you tomorrow, probably." "Nymphadora, you really should ... come live with us again. With the Death Eaters attacking left and right, it would be best if we all stuck together." Dora shook her head. "Sorry, but I need to stay close to headquarters. I'll see you later." She walked out the door. I heard a popping sound, indicating that she had Disapparated. As soon as she was gone, Andromeda sighed. "Something's got into her." "Yes," I agreed. "She hasn't been right since ... " I didn't say it, but Andromeda understood. "Do you really think that's it, though?" she asked. "They didn't know each other for very long ... " "I didn't know him for very long either," I said, my voice cracking. "Well, yes ... " Andromeda said. She continued to stir the vegetables in the pot she had on the stove. I heard her begin to mutter to herself. She did that when she was nervous or had a lot on her mind. "Andromeda, what's the matter?" "Everything," she said with a sigh. "In just a few weeks, everything's become so ... depressing. This mist outside, the people ... I hate seeing everything like this. You and Nymphadora are always so down all the time." "I know," I said. "But so much has happened ... Sirius ... " My voice cracked again. "Yes," she said gently. "You know, I used to be close to Sirius. We always felt close because we both thought our family's beliefs were wrong. We were both burned off the family tree. But while I was

close to Cissy and Bella, he never - " She stopped abruptly. "I don't get it," I said sharply - much sharper than I had intended. "Why do you still call them that?" She shook her head, sighed, and said, "I don't even realize it. It's just a habit." She sighed again. "You know ... I've been thinking about this lately. I want to clean out the attic. There's a lot up there to go through." Though I was surprised by her spontaneous change of subject, I felt slightly excited. The attic might have answers. There might be pieces of information that I could find, if Andromeda had anything from the past, from her childhood. She was such a nostalgic person that I wouldn't be surprised if she had kept everything before she had been disowned. "We should do it tomorrow," I said, my voice happier than it had been in days. "I'll help."

The following day, I woke up with enthusiasm. I dressed, left my bedroom, and went up to the attic. Andromeda had already been there; boxes were scattered across the wooden floor. Some were open with papers and faded pictures overflowing at the top. I walked over to a cluster of old boxes, waiting for Andromeda to come up. I didn't know what she wanted to throw out and keep. Several of the boxes were closed; several were filled to the top with nothing but old school papers and assignments from what I could see. Others seemed to contain pictures and letters. I sat there, sweating in the summer heat when I spotted something on top of the box. I picked it up. It was an old photograph of three girls, each laughing happily and hugging each other. The first one had shining black hair and appeared to be the oldest. The second one, who appeared to be the middle girl, had light brown hair. The third had blonde hair, pale skin, and was easily the smallest of the three. I turned the photo over and read in a handwritten font: 1968 Bellatrix, age 12 Andromeda, age 10

Narcissa, age 8 I stared at it. The three looked so happy, so close ... what had happened between them? I put the picture down and picked up the item underneath. It was a letter written on a very old, yellowed piece of parchment with faded ink that was difficult to read. It said: September 5th, 1962 Dear Andy, Hogwarts has been great! I was instantly sorted into Slytherin house just like Mum and Dad. It's great-nearly everyone here is pureblood like us. Two years from now, I'm sure we'll both be together in Slytherin. Anyway, I'll let you know that I've made several new friends here. It's great. We all immediately became close. There's Evan Rosier-he came from a pureblood family and is fascinated with hexes, jinxes, and curses, even the darkest ones, which he knows about from his family. He knows more than he should for a first year. And there's also Rodolphus Lestrange-the two of us met on the first day and we're practically best friends. I miss you, Mum, Dad, and Cissy of course. I can't wait until Christmas when I'll get to see you again. Tell everybody I love them and miss them and that school's going fine. I love all my classes, especially Defense Against the Dark Arts. Learning about these things makes me want to grab my wand and cast the spells we learn about! I've found the Dark Arts particularly fascinating. It's amazing how much a simple incantation can do and the lengths some wizards will go as far as the Dark Arts. I want to know more, but there's a limit on how much they can teach us since we're only first years. I promise I haven't forgotten about you, Andy. I think about you and Cissy every day. I miss the days where we used to spend all of our time together, but I am really enjoying Hogwarts. Well, I miss you (as I've said) and hope to hear from you! Please write back. Much love, Bella

Wow. I was stunned. When Andromeda had told me that they had been close at one time, she wasn't kidding. I felt heartbroken just imagining what may have gone on between the two. My heart ached to know more; there was just so much I didn't know about my family. But even if Bellatrix and Andromeda had been close, it was obvious that Bellatrix and her obsession with the Dark Arts had been there from the beginning. The indications in the letter were clear. She was already potential Death Eater. Unexpectedly the attic door opened and Andromeda stood in the doorway. "Oh ... " she said, noticing what was in my hand. "I thought you were waiting for me." "I was, but then I ... I saw ... I'm sorry, I didn't really think ... " "It's okay." "Andromeda ... can you tell me what happened? How things came to be between the two of you? Please tell me. As your niece and her daughter, I think I have the right to know ... " "You're right. I've kept everything from you for too long. You were bound to find out eventually. I could tell you, but I'd rather show you ... " "Show me?" "Yes. We don't have a Pensieve, but I'm sure someone from the Order does," she said softly. "If I gave you the memories, could you ask the Order if you could borrow one?" "Yes. There's a meeting tomorrow. I'll have Dora take me with her," I said. "Okay. Here." She took out her wand and conjured a flask out of nowhere. Then a strange silvery substance poured from her head. She gathered it up and put it in the flask before handing it to me. "That should tell you everything," she said weakly. "Thanks. This means a lot." She nodded, and I noticed a few tears escape from her eyes that she had obviously been trying her absolute hardest to hold back. Back to index Chapter 27- A Pensieve of Memories by Lyra Lestrange

Author's Notes: I hope you enjoy this chapter as much as I do. I wrote it in advance. It was inspired by 'The Princes Tale' in DH, so I have to thank JK Rowling for that! ...Actually, I have to thank her for everything, as I would have had no inspiration for this story without the HP series :P ~Chapter 27- A Pensieve of Memories~ The next day, Dora took me to the Order meeting. This time it was at the Weasley family's house. I was particularly happy about not having to revisit Grimmauld Place, but felt sick to my stomach about seeing the members as this would be the first time since the identity revelation. I wasn't allowed to join the meeting as usual, but this time I didn't mind. I needed to ask about creating a Pensieve. I went to Mad-Eye Moody to find out how, but when I asked he just laughed. "You can use a regular bowl or basin," he said. "Anything that contains liquid will contain the memory. However, you'll need to brew a potion in order to enter it. The recipe is, I believe, in Advanced Potion Making. Surely you have a copy at home?" "I don't have my school supplies yet, but maybe Andromeda does ... " I said, feeling slightly humiliated. "Does it take long to brew it?" "A few hours. It won't go away unless you get rid of it, though, so it's worth it, I'd say." "Oh. All right. I'll try to find a recipe," I told him, feeling disappointed. Now I had to stay for the meeting, and I had nothing to do and nowhere to go. I walked over to Dora. "What now?" I asked. "Maybe I can convince you to let them stay this time." "Fat chance," I groaned. "They might think I'll slip secrets to the Dark Side." "Lyra, this is the Order of the Phoenix we're dealing with. They know you the same way they did when you met them. You've grown up away from the Dark Side. Your parentage doesn't matter to them." I sighed. "I hope you're right." Suddenly two people flew into the kitchen: Mrs. Weasley and Ginny. Mrs. Weasley looked surprised and began to speak, completely

flustered. "Oh, Tonks, you're here! Excuse me, I need to get some food ready before everyone else arrives. Oh, it's Lindsey!" "Oh ... " I said. "It's Lyra now." "Oh, that's right. I'm so sorry about everything that happened recently. I read about it; they said some terrible things about you." "Yeah, well ... " My throat had gone dry; I didn't say much else. As I stood there, Mrs. Weasley took me by surprise and pulled me into a hug. "It's all right," she said afterward. "The Order knows you." Dora's words. Maybe this wouldn't be as bad as I was making it out to be. They trusted Dora and, after all, the two of us had grown up in the same house, raised by the same people. However, the Order was one thing. Returning to school would be different. "Would you like something to eat?" said a new voice softly. I turned to see Ginny holding a tray of food. "Oh," I said, taking a bit. "Thanks." Ginny smiled at me. I couldn't help but smile back. She had always been nice to me. It was good to know someone at Hogwarts wouldn't think I was a freak when the time to return came around. "I'm really sorry about Sirius," Ginny said. I looked away. "So am I." I didn't want to think about this. When I tried to push it out of my head and bring in a new thought, I remembered the Pensieve. "Ginny, you don't happen to have a copy of Advanced Potion Making, do you?" I asked. "No, I'm sorry. We may have a copy somewhere around the house." "Advanced Potion Making, you said?" Mrs. Weasley, who had overheard, asked. "We have a few copies. What do you need it for?" "I need to brew a Pensieve potion so I can ... view a memory," I admitted. "Oh! You're in luck. I happen to have some in my Pensieve ... " "You made a Pensieve, Mum?" asked Ginny. "When?"

"Just two days ago. I thought ... well, with this war going on ... I wanted to get them out of my head so I could have some peace of mind. I also wanted to keep my best memories safe and I thought the Order could use it, but I realized it was a bad idea in case Death Eaters attacked and found the secrets, so I removed them all. I was going to get rid of it, but now that you're here, I'll get you some, Lyra. Wait there a moment." Ginny looked at me quizzically. "Mum's been really out of it since You-Know-Who revealed himself. She's afraid of a Death Eater attack on our home more than anything." Mrs. Weasley hurried into the room before the conversation could go any farther. In her hand was a flask filled with clear silver liquid. "Here you go. It's not much, but it's enough to hold a few memories." "I only have one memory," I said. "Thanks, Mrs. Weasley." "Oh, it's no problem. I have to get back to the kitchen now. You're welcome to borrow a bowl from the kitchen and view your memory while Tonks is at the meeting." Well, she still didn't want me to listen to the Order, but at least she was nice enough to help me with the Pensieve. "You can take that to my room," Ginny offered. "That way you can see it while the meeting is taking place." "Thank you," I replied as she led me up the stairs and into her room. "I'll leave you to it," she told me, closing the door behind her. I took a few moments to look around before I set the bowl on her desk, just below a poster of Gwenog Jones. I took the flask of potions from my pocket and emptied the contents into the basin. The memory it. I fell. I was hurtling toward the ground through a swirl of gray and scarlet; I hit the bottom without feeling any impact. In front of me was the Hogwarts Express. A group of five people stood in front of me: two adults and three little girls. "Don't leave, Bella!" the one with the light brown hair exclaimed, tears falling down her face. She had to be a nine-year-old Andromeda. "It's okay, Andy. I'll be home for Christmas," another girl said. She had black hair and was carrying a school trunk.

"But that's four months from now!" Andromeda cried. "It's all right. We can write to each other," Bellatrix said. Andromeda sniffed, and another voice said, "Bellatrix, write to us as soon as you can. We want to know what house you're in, though I know it will be Slytherin." "All right, Mum." "And stay away from blood scum," the woman said. "Druella, if she's in Slytherin, that won't be a problem," said a new voice, a man's. Druella Black nodded and said, "Well, off you go, Bellatrix." "See you!" Bellatrix said. "I'll miss all of you." She hugged Andromeda. "Don't worry. In two years, we'll both be at Hogwarts together." Andromeda let out a sob and said, "Two years is a long time!" "You'll make it," Bellatrix said, pulling away and bending down to hug her youngest sister. "Be good, Cissy. Listen to Andy. She's the only sister you'll have to play with now." "But I don't want to listen to her! She's bossy! You're the nice sister," Narcissa protested. "Andy won't boss you around, will you?" Bellatrix said, giving Andromeda a warning look. "Of course not," she said. "I'll play with her. But do you promise to take over when you get back?" Bellatrix laughed. "Yes." "And you promise to write?" "Yes." "And you promise you won't forget about us?" "Yes." The train whistled.

"I have to go," Bellatrix said. "I'll see you later." "Good luck," Druella said. "Thanks. Have fun. I'll miss you! I love you!" And with that, she boarded the train, leaving her parents and two weeping sisters behind. The scene before me swirled silvery-gray again; I was now standing in the same position, but the setting before me was different. I was now in a room in a manor with black couches and chairs and a Christmas tree. There were many shelves full of dark-looking objects. A fire crackled in a fireplace and I noticed a tapestry on the wall: The Black Family Tree. Andromeda and Narcissa sat on a couch together. In a chair was their father. Suddenly the door opened and two people came in: Druella and Bellatrix. "Bella!" Andromeda shouted, jumping up and running to hug her older sister. "Augh," Bellatrix said. "Let me breathe, Andy! At least let me take my cloak off." She pulled off a winter cloak, hat, and scarf and hung it on a rack on the wall. Then she sat down on a chair and reclined. "It's good to be home. I haven't seen everyone in forever." "We've missed you, Bella!" Andromeda said. "Cissy and I have been having fun, but it's not the same without you!" "I've missed you, too, but school's been great as well. I've made some friends. There's Evan ... Rodolphus ... " "Yes," Druella said sharply. "What are their last names again?" "Rosier and Lestrange," she said. "They're pureblood, if that's what you want to know," she added with a not-so-slight hint of annoyance. "Rosier ... " their father said. "It sounds familiar." "Cygnus!" Druella said furiously. "It's my maiden name!" "Right," Cygnus Black said. "So, er ... how're things going, Bellatrix?"

She began to tell about her school life, and the scene changed again ... I was now standing in the same room with Andromeda, Narcissa, and Cygnus. A tiny owl flew up and pecked rapidly and impatiently on the window. "Bloody owl," Cygnus said. "He'll puncture the glass in that window." Andromeda, however, looked excited. "Dad, it's a letter from Bella!" She went over to the window and took the envelope from the owl. "Come on, Cissy, let's read it." I noticed the two looked slightly older and somehow knew it was a year later. Andromeda was only a year away from starting Hogwarts. "Anything new?" Cygnus asked. "No," Andromeda said. "She said she got detention for hexing some girl in a corridor." Andromeda looked somewhat disappointed. "This letter's actually really short. Oh, well. Here, Cissy. Show Mum." "Why can't you do it?!" she asked. "I'm older, I shouldn't have to!" Andromeda said. "Fine!" Narcissa muttered. She walked off, muttering something about wanting Andromeda to fall off a cliff into a pit of Hungarian Horntails. The scene changed again, and I was in a compartment on the Hogwarts Express. Bellatrix sat across from a nervous-looking Andromeda, who was obviously just starting Hogwarts. "Bella, what if I'm not in Slytherin? Mum and Dad might disown me." "They would never disown you, Andy," Bellatrix said. "You're their daughter." "But there are people on the family tree that got burned off! What if I become like them?" "You won't. Trust me, Andy. You'll be in Slytherin. Our whole family is." "Okay," Andromeda said. She turned and looked out the window. Sighing, she said, "Cissy wasn't sad to see me leave."

"I'm sure she was. She just didn't show it." "Yeah, right. She was hugging you and crying all over you when you stepped onto the train, but when I hugged her she didn't care. She likes you better." She sighed. "I guess I was kind of bossy to her all the time. I wish I could take it back." "Don't worry," Bellatrix said. "She'll miss you before long. With just Mum and Dad around, she'll get lonely." Andromeda sighed again, and Bellatrix gasped. "There they are!" She stood up and opened the door to her compartment. Two boys walked in. I recognized one of them as a thirteen-year-old Rodolphus. "Bella!" Rodolphus said. "Did you have a good summer? You never wrote to me!" "Sorry, I forgot," Bellatrix said without a trace of regret in her voice. "Sit down." Rodolphus sat by Bellatrix, and the other, who I assumed was Evan Rosier, sat by Andromeda. "Who's this?" he asked. "She's obviously a first year." He looked at Andromeda, who was polishing her new wand on her robe. She looked up at him nervously. "That's Andy, my sister. She's starting Hogwarts this year," Bellatrix explained. "Oh. Bella said she had two little sisters," Rodolphus said. "Speaking of siblings, there's Rabastan." The compartment door opened again and a rather thickset boy came in. "Rodolphus, there's no where else to sit," he said. "Fine," Rodolphus said, scooting over and making room for his brother, but when Rabastan sat down, the three were squished up against each other. "There's not enough room," Bellatrix said, her face smashed against the window. "Someone has to leave." "Make her do it," Rabastan said, pointing to Andromeda. "She's just a first year."

A fearful look appeared on Andromeda's face once again, causing Bellatrix to snarl at Rabastan, "Why don't you leave, you great lump!" "Sure, defend the first year!" Rabastan said. "Go on, midget. Get out." Bellatrix looked at Andromeda apologetically. "Sorry, Andy. You'll have to leave." The scene changed. I was now in the Hogwarts Great Hall. I was behind Bellatrix at the Slytherin table with Rodolphus, Rabastan, and Evan. Andromeda was in line with the first years, about to be sorted. She looked even more terrified than she had on the train. A teacher stood up and read off the names. After a boy was sorted into Hufflepuff, Andromeda Black was called to the stool. She walked up and placed the hat on her head, trembling slightly as the hat, almost as worn as it had been when I had been Sorted, looked into her head to decide her fate. At the Slytherin table, Bellatrix stared intently at her sister. "Slytherin!" the hat shouted. Andromeda looked slightly relieved as she joined Bellatrix. Upon her arrival, Bellatrix said, "Congratulations! Mum and Dad will be so proud!" Still trembling but looking more and more relieved, Andromeda nodded and slowly sank back to watch the rest of the sorting. The scene changed again. Now I was back in the Black's manor. Outside it was dark. Andromeda, Narcissa, Cygnus, and Druella were sitting on the black couches. Based on the Christmas tree (which was decorated in black lights and skull ornaments this time) I assumed it was the holiday break again. The door to the room opened and Bellatrix walked in with Rodolphus. The two were laughing as they removed their winter cloaks and hung them on the rack. "You're late," Druella snapped. "Sorry, Mum. Lost track of time." "That's no excuse," she said. "I said I was sorry! It's only half an hour late!" Bellatrix exclaimed. "I just lost track of time! Why does it matter to you, anyway? Don't say

you were worried something happened to me, because I know you don't care." Druella opened her mouth to argue, but Bellatrix grabbed Rodolphus's hand and hastily walked with him out of the room, turning around once to give her mother a punishable hand gesture. Druella followed her out, ready to fight back. Narcissa, who appeared to be about ten years old, turned to Andromeda. "Andy," she said. "Yes?" "Will you play Gobstones with me?" Andromeda was quiet for a second. Then she said, "You haven't wanted to do anything with me in ages." "I know," Narcissa sighed. "But ever since Bella started seeing him, she hasn't had any time for us." "Yeah. Let's go." The scene changed once more, and I was in a large decorated hall. Banners hung from the walls and several candles floated in pale bubbles floating at the ceiling. It would have been beautiful if not for all the black and green. I was standing behind Andromeda, who appeared to be about thirteen. She was in a pale blue dress with her hair held up in a matching ribbon. Next to her was Narcissa, who looked as if she was in her first year at Hogwarts. She was in a light pink dress with her long blonde hair brushed down to her waist. "You ask her," Andromeda said. "No, you," Narcissa replied. "I don't want to; she'll get mad." "She'll get mad at me, too!" "No, she won't, you're the youngest. She can't blow up at you." "She might." "Cissy, please!" As they talked, they approached Bellatrix, who was wearing a dark

purple dress and was dancing slowly with Rodolphus. Her black hair was as shiny and beautiful as ever. She looked no older than fifteen. "Bella," Narcissa said quietly. "Andy wants to know if you're going to the garden with us." Bellatrix scowled. "The garden?" "Yes," Narcissa said. "You know, since we go there every year at this ball. She ... she says it's a tradition!" Her voice became nervous as her oldest sister glared at her. Bellatrix snorted. "Who cares about that tradition? All we do it pick flowers and carve our name into that stupid tree. It's for kids, and I'm practically an adult." "But we do it every year," Andromeda said. "It's our own tradition as the Black sisters at the Pureblood Ball! And since our family is hosting this year, we should definitely carry out the tradition!" "Andy, no," Bellatrix said. "But ... " "I said, no!" Bellatrix stared her straight in the eyes. Andromeda stared back, but finally said, "Come on, Cissy. We'll do it ourselves." And she walked her younger sister to a garden outside the hall. I followed. It was dark outside, but the path was lit with eerie green glowing lights. They sat under a huge tree. Andromeda sighed. "Well, Cissy ... it looks like we'll have to continue the tradition ourselves." "I wish Bella would come," Narcissa said, pouting. "It's just not the same." "I know. But she's growing up. Let's carve our names into the tree." She picked up a rock and began to chip away at the tree bark. Beneath the spot she carved I saw writing from the previous year, which read: Bellatrix Black, 1965 Andromeda Black, 1965

Narcissa Black, 1965 The two carved their names with the year, then sighed and lay back in the grass. "Bella's really changing," Andromeda said. "She's obsessed with him. She spends every waking moment with him! She never has time for us! And when she's not with him, she's reading articles in the Prophet about that evil wizard who's doing all that terrible stuff, and she likes it! She thinks it's good, the things they're doing. I'm afraid she'll join them when she's older!" "I miss the old Bella," Narcissa agreed. "But Mum and Dad want her to join the Death Eaters." Andromeda shivered. "Death Eaters. How could Bella want to be part of something that sounds so awful?" And the scene changed again. I was back in the Black Manor. Andromeda was standing in a dimly-lit hallway in front of me. She took a deep breath and walked down the hall. She turned and faced a door on her left and opened it slowly, as if she was expecting a monster to be in there, waiting to eat her. But it wasn't a monster, it was Bellatrix. She was sitting on a bed and, er ... looked kind of busy with Rodolphus. As soon as the door opened, she pulled away and faced her sister, looking furious. Maybe she was equivalent to a monster in that outraged state. "What are you doing in here?" she roared. "Dad sent me to ... " "Do you ever knock?" "I was just coming to tell you ... " "Andy, get out!" "But Dad ... " "I said, GET OUT!" Andromeda, who was probably thirteen or fourteen, began crying as if she was five. "I was just sent ... " "I DON'T CARE! GET OUT!" "Bella ... "

Bellatrix whipped her wand out of her robe pocket and pointed it at her frightened sister. "THIS IS MY ROOM AND IF YOU DON'T LEAVE, I'LL HEX YOU!" "You can't use magic out of ... " "Watch me," Bellatrix snarled. "Do you think I really care about school anymore? Once I graduate I'll be joining those Death Eaters anyway and it won't matter whether I finished school or not so you had better get out for your own sake because I'll be cursing you and I won't care if I'm expelled from school!" As she talked, she drew closer to Andromeda and moved her wand toward her throat. When it was close enough to touch the pale skin of Andromeda's neck, the younger one let out a sob and turned to ran down the hall. And the scene changed. Bellatrix was in the Black Manor again. This time she looked much older, in her early twenties. Rodolphus was with her again. I noticed a ring on her finger - she was married to him. The two sat down on a couch opposite of her younger sisters, who were also much older (they were definitely out of Hogwarts). Bellatrix had a serious look on her face as she stared at her parents. "The time has come," she said. "We're joining the Death Eaters. It's the right thing to do - we need to purify the race. Mudbloods and other blood scum should be destroyed, just as we've been taught. Tonight we're going to be initiated." "Yes," Druella said. "I always knew you would make the right decision, Bellatrix. I'm proud of you. You married a pureblood just as we expected and you've chosen your path for the future. I only hope our other daughters will make the same choice." She looked at Andromeda and Narcissa sitting on the couch. Narcissa stared back at her mother intently, but Andromeda looked slightly uncomfortable. A new scene: Bellatrix was sitting on a bench in a garden when Andromeda walked over to her. She looked extremely nervous. Bellatrix looked up at her and said, "What is it? Are you all right?" Andromeda sighed. "Bella ... I need to talk to you." "Go on," Bellatrix replied, making room for her sister on the bench. "Bella ... if I don't join the Death Eaters, what will Mum and Dad think? They're so proud of you, but I just ... I just don't think it's the

right thing for me." "Andy, you don't have to join. After all, Mum and Dad aren't Death Eaters themselves. They can't get mad at you if you don't join. But as for me, well ... " She pulled back her sleeve and ran her finger beside the Mark that had recently been burned into her skin. She wouldn't touch it, though it seemed as if she wanted to. "I believe the Dark Lord has the right idea." Andromeda swallowed hard. "Did ... did that hurt?" "Hurt? Of course it did, Andy. But it's nothing compared to the future duties I'll be doing as a Death Eater." "What if you get caught? You'll be locked in Azkaban forever," Andromeda said. "I won't get caught, Andy," Bellatrix said soothingly. "I know my stuff." Andromeda nodded and looked down at her palms. "There's more. Bella, I need your advice." Even though her sister had taken such a horrible path, Andromeda still apparently trusted her. "What is it?" Bellatrix responded. Her sister didn't answer, but fiddled with her hands instead. She looked rather sick. Finally she took a deep breath and said, "I haven't told Mum and Dad about this, but I've finally met someone, and I really think he's right for me." "Andy, that's great!" Bellatrix exclaimed with enthusiasm, looking into her sister's uncertain face. "Who is he?" "He's ... well ... I mean, he's ... you see, the thing is ... " "Spit it out." "His name's Ted." "Yes." "But you see, I can't tell Mum and Dad because, well ... I wanted to come to you first, to ask you how to tell them, because I thought you would understand me best. See, Ted is ... he's a ... a Muggleborn." Bellatrix froze instantaneously. She turned and glared at her sister. "A Muggle-born?" she spat. "Andy, what are you thinking?"

"I'm thinking that ... that it shouldn't matter!" Andromeda protested, leaping up from the bench. "As long as we love each other, why does it matter how pure our blood is?" "It matters because ... because that's just the way it is!" Bellatrix roared, standing up to face Andromeda again. "If you go off and marry him, you'll be blasted from the family tree for good!" "What if I don't care? The Black family tree is nothing but a stupid tapestry!" "It's more than a tapestry! Don't you get it? You'll be disowned! No one in our family will ever talk to you again if you go the way our dear old cousin did!" "Sirius had the right idea," Andromeda said, close to tears now. "He didn't like our family's ways, so he left! And maybe that's how I feel! Bella, I'll be honest with you: I've never really agreed with the pureblood obsession! I've never felt like a true Black!" "Maybe you're not," she said. "Maybe you should go and marry this Mudblood. If you care about him more than your family, then go ahead! No one's stopping you!" "Maybe I will! It's not like anyone in our family ever cared about me! All that matters to Mum and Dad is that we marry purebloods; they don't actually care about us! They just want to make sure the family tree stays pure! I don't need them, nor do I need any of our relatives. I'll have Ted. I'll have you and Cissy. It's good enough for me." "Me? Me and Cissy?" Bellatrix spat. "You sound pretty sure about this." "Bella, please tell me you won't disown me because of ... of who I love," Andromeda said quietly. "Disown you? Of course I'll disown you! Think of what my image will look like with the Death Eaters if they find out one of my sisters is a blood traitor!" "You've been brainwashed," Andromeda said, tears now falling down her face. "You-Know-Who made you think exactly what he wanted you to. Now you care more about that than your family." "And what does if matter if I do?" Bellatrix asked. "Andy, if you want to marry this Mudblood, fine. But if you ever want me to speak to you again, you should find a respectable pureblood to marry. The

choice is yours. Choose quickly." Andromeda stared back at her sister in disbelief. "I ... " "I get it," Bellatrix said. "You've chosen him over your family. You've chosen him over me." She turned around to leave. "Bella, wait! You wouldn't ... your own sister? Bella!" Bellatrix turned around. "You are no sister of mine, Andromeda." And with those final words, she turned around and left, leaving Andromeda - who had sunk to her knees and begun to weep noisily with her head in her hands - behind her forever. And now I was swirling upward through silver-gray ... a moment later and I was sitting in front of Ginny's desk, the memory swirling in the Pensieve in front of me. End Notes: It's supposed to be mysterious on purpose. I thought it sounded best to just write the memories back to back without putting a lot of Lyra's thoughts about them in between. On a different note, I kind of held off on the reactions of everyone to Lyra's identity deal until later chapters. It seemed like too much for this one, which is supposed to focus on the memories. Finally, I hope the Pensieve-creating theory wasn't too corny. I think it makes sense. Lyra had to get one somewhere! Oh, one last bit: the Black sisters' parents really are named Druella and Cygnus; it was on JKR's Black Family Tree. According to it, Rosier is Druella's maiden name. Back to index Chapter 28- Rage in the Robe Shop by Lyra Lestrange ~Chapter 28- Rage in the Robe Shop~ I decided to make a list. I knew it could end up being completely and totally pointless, but I did it anyway. On a piece of parchment, I scribbled down a few things I wanted to discover. - Find out what happened between Andromeda and Bellatrix ... done. -Find out why Bellatrix joined Death Eaters -Find out more about Cygnus and Druella Black and what kind of parents they were

-Find out about how Bellatrix was as a student (check Hogwarts records-trophy room, Filch's office-may have to sneak in) -Find out more about Bellatrix and Rodolphus and how their relationship came to be -Find out what kind of relationship Bellatrix had with Narcissa and how things were like for the three sisters growing up I folded it up and set it underneath my wand lying on my nightstand. I stood up, prepared to go downstairs for lunch, when I heard an owl tapping on the window. I turned and saw it fluttering outside with a letter in its beak. I retrieved the letter and saw that the envelope was addressed to me. I opened it and gasped. My O.W.L. results were here at last! Upon unfolding the parchment inside, I read:

ORDINARY WIZARDING LEVEL RESULTS Pass Grades OUTSTANDING (O) EXCEEDS EXPECTATIONS (E) ACCEPTABLE (A) Fail Grades POOR (P) DREADFUL (D) TROLL (T) Lyra Columba Lestrange has achieved: Arithmancy-E Astronomy-O Care of Magical Creatures-A Charms-O

Defense Against the Dark Arts-O Divination-P Herbology-E History of Magic-P Potions-E Transfiguration-E "Well ... " I said to myself. "Not bad." I ran downstairs to show Andromeda. I was surprised to see that Dora was here. She noticed my enthusiasm and said, "What's going on?" "My O.W.L results!" I said. "Oh," Dora said, perking up slightly, something I hadn't seen her do in days. "How'd you do?" "Well, I failed Divination and History of Magic. But that doesn't matter; I really don't need those." "Oh," Andromeda said. "You really should have tried to pass Divination. I wish you could continue it. I took it all the way through N.E.W.T. level." "And has it ever done you any good?" I asked. "Trust me, Andromeda, neither Professor Trelawney nor Firenze have taught me a thing I could apply to real life. Anyway...I got O's' in Astronomy, Defense Against the Dark Arts, and Charms!" "There's a surprise," Dora said with a hint of sarcasm, though I had a feeling it had to do with her glumness. "What does that mean?" "Well, we all knew you'd ace Astronomy. And you're good at wand work. Defense Against the Dark Arts and Charms all deal with that unless you're being taught by that Umbridge woman. My point is that you're better at wand magic. Casting spells is your strong point ... as we've all seen." "That's not funny," I said, thinking about the Cruciatus Curses I had accidentally cast on too many occasions. "I was angry."

"That's no excuse!" Dora snapped. "That's enough," Andromeda said. "Now, Lyra, which subjects are you going to continue with?" "I think I'll drop Care of Magical Creatures. We don't learn anything and I don't think I'll ever use it. I can't take Divination and History of Magic since I ... you know, failed. I'm going to continue with everything else." She nodded, and Dora said, "Well, we'll need to buy your supplies." "When?" "Tomorrow, if that works. I'll take you to Diagon Alley." "Okay, then," I said. "We'll go tomorrow. I might as well mention that my robes are too short. I need some new ones."

The trip to Diagon Alley had never been so gloomy. The last time I visited - two years ago - the sun had been shining, Dora had been perky, and everything had been fine. That was before Voldemort had returned. Now foggy mist hung over the street, wanted posters plastered the shop fronts, Dora was in a depressed state, and even several shopkeepers had gone missing. "Ollivander, too?" I asked Dora. "Florean Fortescue already disappeared. Remember two years ago when we went to his ice cream parlor? After we bought my supplies? That's where we ran into that guy ... what was his name again? Harper, or something like that?" "Yeah," Dora said, and a bitter look crossed her face. For the first time in awhile, I really noticed how sheh ad changed since Sirius had fallen through the veil. Her hair, though it was her favorite shade of pink, fell to her shoulders limply. Her face was gaunt and ill-looking. I noticed the pink hair fading into brown at the top of her head, as if she had dyed it (as I had known Muggles do) and the roots were beginning to grow in. "Dora, what's with your hair?" "What about it?" "It's turning brown at the top." "So? I'm ... trying for a new look."

"No, you're not," I said firmly. "That always happened when you got depressed. For instance, during your Hogwarts years when ... when your boyfriend dumped you or whatever. It turns limp and brown when you get depressed." "I've - fine, then, I've been having trouble changing it. I can't control my Metamorphosing like I used to!" "Dora, listen. I know you're upset about ... Sirius. I am as well. But you really can't - " "You think this is about Sirius?" she exclaimed. Then she stopped abruptly as if she had let something slip. "Well, what else?" I demanded. "What else is there? The war? Or maybe it's the stupid dementors swarming around. I thought you could produce a Patronus. Is that the problem?" "No! Just leave me alone. Let's go to Madam Malkin's. You said you needed robes." She pulled me around the corner without saying a word. Once we were in Madam Malkin's, I realized something was going on. "Who blacked your eye, Granger? I want to send them flowers," [*] I heard a familiar voice say from behind a shelf of clothing. "That's quite enough!" a voice barked. I noticed it was Madam Malkin. "Madam - please - " [*] "Put those away," [*] a cold voice said. It was almost like a female version of the first voice I had just heard, and though I couldn't see her and had never met her, I knew exactly who she was ... "If you ever attack my son again, I shall ensure that it is the last thing you ever do," [*] the voice continued. "Really?" said Harry Potter's voice. "Going to get a few Death Eater pals to do us in, are you?" [*] "I see that being Dumbledore's favorite had given you a false sense of security, Harry Potter. But Dumbledore won't always be there to protect you," [*] the woman said. "Wow ... look at that ... he's not here now! So why not have a go? They might be able to find you a double cell in Azkaban with your loser of a husband!" [*] Harry exclaimed.

I heard a movement, a laugh - it sounded like Ron Weasley's - and the voice of Draco Malfoy saying, "Don't you dare talk to my mother like that, Potter!" [**] "It's all right, Draco," said the woman. "I expect Potter will be reunited with dear Sirius before I am reunited with Lucius." [**] That was it. I jumped out from behind the shelf with my wand pointed at her. "Shut up about my cousin!" I exclaimed. She laughed, and I saw the family resemblance. "Lyra. I know much about you though I've never actually met you. What a surprise. I'm sure you know this already, but I'm Narcissa Malfoy." "Yes, I do know!" I exclaimed. "And that's why I'm here to ... " Madam Malkin was protesting again, and I felt someone grab me. "Don't," Dora said firmly. "Don't make a scene." "Get off me! She was talking about Sirius! I'll get her for that! Cruc " "NO!" Dora had grabbed me and pinned me against the wall. "Lyra, don't!" "Get off me! She was talking about him! Let go of me!" "You really need to stop doing that! You'll be locked up - " I jabbed my wand at her throat and said, "I'm perfectly aware of the consequences; I'm not a child! Now let go of me before I curse you too!" That did the trick. Dora let go of me and turned to Madam Malkin. "I'm - I'm really sorry. She gets worked up sometimes ... " Turning to me, she snapped, "Let's go." She grabbed the collar of my robes and dragged me out of the store. I felt humiliated on top of being angry as I heard Draco and Narcissa laughing. As soon as we were out the door, I turned to her with my wand still pointed. "Dora! I need to buy robes ... and you ... I can't believe you would

humiliate me like that!" "Well, I can't believe you would perform the Cruciatus Curse on anybody! Don't you realize you have the Trace on you? The Ministry couldn't track you at Grimmauld Place but as for here in Diagon Alley it would be a snap! You really need to learn to control your temper! Now let's go. You need potions ingredients." She began to stalk off to the Apothecary. I followed reluctantly, still fuming. We bought my robes last. We entered when we were sure everybody that had been in there earlier was gone. Madam Malkin fitted me with a fearful expression. I remembered how everyone had acted about my identity being revealed. My attack on Narcissa probably only proved everyone's theories about me correct - I was just as bad as my parents. "There you go," she said, handing me a stack of robes. I took them and handed her a few Galleons before heading outside with Dora. Once we were away, I said, "Is this how it's always going to be?" "What do you mean?" she asked. "The identity thing. Everyone's going to be afraid of me." "Yeah," she snorted. "They sure will, if you're about to perform an Unforgivable Curse in their store." "You're no help," I grumbled, and walked ahead of her. End Notes: I used to really like this chapter, but upon re-reading it I decided it seemed a little unnecessary. However, the story works out much better later if Lyra meets Narcissa now. On a different note, the O.W.L results looked considerably better in a the Word document because I had it formatted and used different fonts, but it's a bit limited here so hopefully they don't look too bad. [*] Quotes taken from the American version of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, page 115 [**] page 114 Back to index Chapter 29- Dora's Diary by Lyra Lestrange Author's Notes: This is the last chapter before Lyra returns to school (but hopefully

not the last one before I return, since that tends to slow down updates!). It's kind of short and contains nothing but what we know from canon, but I really like how it turned out! Enjoy! Oh, on a different note, this fic has been chosen as a featured story! I'm not sure who decides which ones are featured but it is quite an honor! :) ~Chapter 29- Dora's Diary~ Every little thing got on my nerves as the days went on. I blew up, yelled, and screamed so much that it was getting way out of hand. I was ready to go back to school because of this. Luckily, that date was only in two weeks. At the same time I didn't want to go back. I knew things would be awful now that everyone knew my secret. Thinking about this gave me a nervous stomach at first and quickly transformed into anger. I was downstairs, sitting in a chair and staring out a window again. I thought of last year at Christmas when Sirius had said, "You're more like her than I thought." He had taken it back, but I knew it was true. I hated it. I didn't want to be like her. Dora was sitting at the table in the kitchen, so I decided to ask her about this. "Dora," I said, "I really need to learn to control it, don't I?" "What?" she asked, leaving the dreamy trance she had been in. "My temper." I sighed. "I know I'm blowing things out of proportion." "Well, yes ... you definitely are. But I don't know what to do about that." I let out an annoyed sigh. "You never know what to do anymore." She glared at me. This was so typical. We always got onto each other these days. I felt bad about it because we used to be so close. We still were, but we easily irritated each other. And right now, it was important to keep loved ones close. I got up from my chair and went to sit across from her in the kitchen. "Listen," I said. "I'm really sorry about the way I've been acting lately. I'm trying to manage my anger. But I really wish you would tell me what's going on with you. I wouldn't be so irritated if I knew why you were depressed."

"I don't want to talk about anything," she said, and her tone indicated that she was final. "Mind your own business. Now, would you do me a favor? Could you go up to my old bedroom and grab my wand while I get out some potion ingredients? I need to brew a wake-up potion. The Order had kept me so busy." "Can't you get it yourself?" I snapped. "Fine, I will! I was just asking for a little help!" "Never mind, I'll get it!" I stormed upstairs, stomping hard on the steps like a three year old being sent to their room. This was nothing new. I entered Dora's room. It didn't look much different - the walls were still bright green and the posters of the Weird Sisters still hung on the walls. But since she had moved out, everything had been coated in a layer of dust. Though she was home all the time, she never bothered to clean it. She hadn't told me exactly where she had left her wand. I checked her nightstand, her desk, and the table in the middle of the room. Knowing Dora, it was probably buried under the mess on the floor. "Where's her stupid wand?" I muttered. "There's an easier way to do this. Accio wand!" It flew at me; I caught it. Of course. She had left it on a shelf and when it flew out, several books fell off. How could she have put her wand somewhere like that? Maybe that was why she had sent me it wasn't that she'd left it here; she'd lost it here. I sighed and walked over to her books. I picked up about three and stuffed them back on the shelves. I noticed they weren't really books - Dora had never really been into reading - but old diaries from her school days. I was about to grab the last one when I saw that it was open. It would have been easier to close it up and shove it onto the shelf where it belonged, but I couldn't help but notice this one. The entry was recent, dating back to just last month. I thought she had stopped writing in her diaries when she left school. I knew that this was the answer to her depression. Why else would she have written in her diary so recently? Though I knew it was wrong, I couldn't resist. I tried convincing myself it was for her own good-Andromeda and I could get her help if it was something really

serious. I stared down at the page without touching the diary. Her handwriting was large enough for me to see it without having to get close. I looked down and read: So, I did it. I told him how I felt, and he rejected me. He gave me a load of lame excuses. I can't believe this. Sirius has just died, the world has gone into war, and now this. It's caused everything to fall apart. I'm so upset I can't even control my transformations anymore. He says he's too old, but age is nothing but a number! Why should it matter that he's so many years older than me? He could at least give me a chance, a chance to prove that it doesn't matter. He says I deserve someone my own age, but I don't want anyone else. He says he's too poor. So what? I make plenty of money as an Auror that I could split half my Gringotts vault with him and still be able to support myself. Like I said, it's just an excuse. He knows money isn't really a problem. I had to turn the page to read on, so I picked up the diary and lifted its page over carefully. I hoped my fingers wouldn't leave prints or smudges anywhere. At this point, I was trying to figure out who she was writing about. But once I read the next page, I knew. He says he's too dangerous. He says that's the main reason. I still think it's an excuse. Maybe he is a werewolf, but he can take Wolfsbane Potion. It's that simple - though apparently not for him. If it makes him happy, I can go out and get bitten as well. I'm sure Fenrir Greyback would be more than willing to do something like that. I dropped the diary and sat there, stunned. She was willing to get bit for him? How could she be so stupid? If a werewolf bit her, she would probably be killed instead of merely turning into one! And werewolves have a lot of trouble finding work and ... well, finding their place in society. I was so stupefied to find her thinking like this, but I had to read on. I've tried to accept that he just doesn't want me. It's not surprising. It happened to me all the time through school. As soon as I was with someone, they left me because I wasn't who they wanted. They used me to get the girl of their dreams in looks. It never lasted.

I know he's lonely. His best friends are all gone and he doesn't have any sort of family left. I wish he would give me a chance. Just one chance. If things don't work out, that's fine. He says he doesn't want to hurt me, but he's already damaged me beyond repair. Maybe not. He could repair me if he said yes. I could ask him again. I could, and maybe the outcome would be different. But maybe it wouldn't. Maybe, no matter how hard I try, Remus Lupin will never love me, no matter how much I love him back. I felt guilty as soon as I finished reading. It was her personal diary, after all. But it explained everything ... "Lyra, did you find my wand? You're taking forev - " Dora was in the doorway now. She saw me in front of her diary and looked petrified. "Dora, I - " I didn't know what to say. "I'm sorry - I didn't realize - it just opened and I wanted to know - I understand if you're mad at me, but ... " She shook her head, and I realized how bad it was. Not only did she look more depressed today, but her hair was getting worse. It was now an even split between pink and brown and looked like she hadn't brushed it in a long time. "Dora ... " "It doesn't matter," she said, and to my surprise, she didn't sound bitter at all. Instead, tears were now silently falling down her face. "So this is why you've been so upset?" I asked softly. "This doesn't have anything to do with Sirius, does it?" "Not - not really. I am sad about that. But I don't understand why Remus - " "Really?" I asked cautiously, not wanting to upset her further. "Because ... he is a werewolf. I'm pretty sure that's why." I immediately regretted this. She glared at me angrily and said, "That's what you said before! But why does it matter?" "He's dangerous!" I said. "Only at the full moon! Remember the Wolfsbane Potion?" "What if he forgot to take it one night? He could kill you, Dora!

Remember what Sirius said about that night - the one in my third year, when he went to Hogwarts to find Pettigrew? Lupin forgot his potion and - " "Well, forget you then!" she yelled, interrupting me. "And stay out of my room and out of my diaries!" "Fine!" I yelled. I stood up and pushed past her in the doorway. I entered my room and slammed my door angrily. I hated fighting with her all the time, but in this case, somebody had to be reasonable. Back to index Chapter 30- Identity Issues by Lyra Lestrange ~Chapter 30- Identity Issues~ Going back to Hogwarts had never been the same. Though the ride there had been normal (I sat alone and snacked on Chocolate Frogs the whole time), arriving felt too strange. It was immediate -as soon as I got off the train, people stared, some glared, and a few first years even gasped when they saw my face. I tried to ignore this, but it made me angry, which probably didn't help. The fierce look on my face that increased each time someone gasped or glared probably made the resemblance even more obvious. Filch greeted us grumpily at the entrance and began to scan each individual student for Dark objects. I felt like we would never get in. When it was my turn, he glared menacingly as he ran the sensor over me. I glared back and proceeded to the Great Hall. The feast was relatively normal, though I felt isolated the whole time. Dumbledore announced the usual, including staffing changes Professor Slughorn, whom everyone had assumed would teach Defense Against the Dark Arts, was announced as the new Potions teacher. Professor Snape had received D.A.D.A., the job he always wanted. I went to the dormitory after the feast as usual. Lavender and Parvati were already there. Parvati smiled at me, but she had obviously forced it. Lavender looked apprehensive. "Hi, Lavender. Hi, Parvati," I said dully. "Had a good summer?" "Not bad," Parvati said, not bothering to keep the slightly nervous tremble out of her voice. I tried to smile but it didn't work so well. I went and sat on my bed.

"So, uh ... " Lavender said. "Is it really true?" "Is what true?" I asked. "Are you really ... you know ... the Lestranges' daughter?" I rolled my eyes and said sharply, "Don't you read the Prophet?" Lavender looked shocked and turned away. I felt bad, but wasn't in the mood to apologize. Instead, I turned away from them and got off my bed, went to my trunk, and opened it. Get it under control, I told myself. If you want people to see you as the same person, you can't act like a Death Eater's daughter. I opened my trunk with more force than necessary and began to unload the books I would need for tomorrow. It wasn't really needed, but I needed something to occupy me. At the bottom of the trunk was my broomstick. Something was different about it, though. I pulled it out and examined it. Oh, no. It wasn't my Comet Two-Sixty, it was my Firebolt! I had grabbed the wrong one. I was determined to keep the Firebolt at home so thoughts of Sirius would stay away. At least I won't need a broom, I thought. It's not like I play Quidditch or even fly at all for that matter. I shoved the broom to the bottom of my trunk and buried it in my robes.

Schedules came out the next morning. I was scheduled to take the classes I had chosen for N.E.W.T. level - Arithmancy, Astronomy, Charms, D.A.D.A., Herbology, and Potions. It was great not only because I finally got to drop Divination, but because sixth years also got free periods. Arithmancy was my first class, and I was particularly pleased - that is, until I got there. I had always liked Arithmancy, Professor Vector, and my classmates, but as soon as I walked in I received several hateful glares. The only one who wasn't giving me a look was Hermione, so I sat next to her, hoping it would be all right. We had, after all, sat next to each other in Arithmancy since third year. "Uh ... hi, Hermione," I said cautiously.

"Hi," she said with a smile. She didn't seem intimidated by me like everyone else was. Professor Vector turned around from the blackboard and faced the class with a clipboard in her hand. She began to go around the room and take role. "Miss Granger, nice to have you back," she said. "I was very pleased with your O' on the exam." Hermione beamed, and Professor Vector moved on to me. "Miss Tonks, I see you're back." "No," I said. "Miss Tonks won't ever be back." I was attempting at slight humor, but my voice came out cold. Professor Vector stared at me for a moment before finally saying, "I've heard you are Miss Lestrange now, are you not?" "Yes," I said. She gave me a simple nod without looking at my face and walked off. I rolled my eyes, beginning to feel cross again. "So ... it really is true?" Hermione asked carefully. "Well, I mean ... I know it is, but ... " "Yeah," I said glumly. "Everything is true. The Lestranges' had a daughter before they were arrested, they were sent to Azkaban while their daughter was shipped off to her aunt and uncle ... there she was raised under a false name ... now she's sitting in this room. That's about all there is to say." "Lyra," Hermione said softly. "Honestly, I don't see what the deal is ... I mean, you're the same person you were before everything, so I really think it's stupid that everyone is looking at you like this. I don't see you any differently." "Thanks," I said, and I really meant it. After Arithmancy, it was time for Defense Against the Dark Arts. Hermione and I walked together to the classroom on the third floor. "It'll be interesting, won't it?" Hermione asked. "Snape teaching us." "Yeah," I said. "Especially since he's been after the job for years." We arrived just as Neville Longbottom and Luna Lovegood were

approaching. I caught Neville's eye and immediately turned my face, letting my hair hang over my eyes. He stopped upon catching my eye and froze. I turned for the door but couldn't get myself to move. It was Luna who broke the silence. "Hello, Lucy. Had a good summer?" Me? Was she seriously talking to me like that? Weird as it was, I had to admit her casualness was a nice change to all the glares I had received. "It's Lindsey - uh ... no, it's not," I said. "I'll be in the classroom," Hermione muttered to me as she turned to walk away. "Um, Luna, don't you have somewhere to be?" "Oh, yes, Care of Magical Creatures. I hear we might get to study Blibbering Humdingers this year. I should go now. Bye, Neville. Bye Lacey." "It's Lindsey! I mean, Lyra!" "Oh, you're Lyra, now? Why must you continue to change your name on me?" With those last words, she left. "Don't mind her. She reads The Quibbler, not the Prophet," said Neville, who had finally found the courage to speak. I nodded. "Well, ignorance is bliss." More silence. I wondered if we even needed to address the issue that was glaring us in the face. "Well, Neville, we should get to class - " "Did I ever tell you that my mother collects Best Blowing Gum wrappers?" he said suddenly. I turned to stare with shocked confusion. "Um, no," I answered. His face was so distant. I felt the only way I would make it to class on time - not that that was the most important issue at hand - was if I started this. "Neville, look, I'm so sorry. I can't imagine how hurt and scared and confused you feel right now. I understand if you feel angry at me, or betrayed, or lied to, but I promise you I had no idea that your parents were the reason mine were in prison."

"I should have known," he said, almost like he didn't realize I was standing there. His face looked as dreamy and distant as Luna Lovegood's. "You look so much like them. I had never really seen their faces until last year, when their pictures were in the Prophet. Still, I had no idea you ... " He broke off. I breathed a quiet sigh. "Neville, I can't do anything about them, but I can promise you that I'm not like them. I would never do such a terrible thing." That's a lie, my conscious yelled at me. You've performed the same curse that sent your parents to prison and his to St. Mungo's for eternity. "I would hate to lose you as a friend because ... " A lump was now forming in my throat. "Because you're one of the few people who actually saw me as more than an outcast." "I believe you," he said. "You were in Dumbledore's Army, right? You never knew your parents. You went with us to save your cousin when he was in danger. You saw me as more than an outcast, too." "Neville ... it means so much to me that you still value our friendship even after you know who I'm related to, but I really don't feel worthy of being your friend anymore ... " "Why? I still want to be your friend." The lump was growing. "I'm not the greatest person out there - " "Neither am I. Nobody is." "You don't understand." "Nobody understands anything right now." "Well ... " Nobody had to find out I had used illegal curses before. As long as I never did it again, I could let the past be the past. I decided right then that I wasn't going to tell Neville. Why lose one of the few friendships I had? "All right. You have nothing against me?" "No, not at all." I nodded. "Thanks, Neville. We should get to class." "Yeah. Professor Snape's teaching Defense this year. We'll see how that goes." We entered. The fact that Snape now used this classroom was easy to see. I said goodbye to Neville as he went to sit with Dean and Seamus. It was all right with me; after that talk I could have used some time to think on my own. I took a seat in the back corner as

far away from Snape as possible. It was the perfect spot as nobody sat next to me and the desks to the front and left of it were unoccupied. Snape began to walk around the classroom and take role, his black cape trailing behind him. When he approached me, he smiled grimly and said, "Ah, Miss Tonks ... or should I say, Miss Lestrange ... " Anger boiled inside me as usual, but it was easier to feel this toward Snape than anyone else. Three seats in front of me, I heard Draco Malfoy snigger. I glared at Snape. He glared back and said, "Move closer. You're too far to the back." So much for my perfect seat. I glared at him again, though he couldn't see it due to the fact that he was already moving to the front of the class. Snape addressed the class and talked about the course objectives before he showed us a few pictures of the Dark Arts being performed - the Dementor's Kiss, an Inferius, and the Cruciatus Curse (my stomach lurched uncomfortably), all of which we would learn about in the coming year. He then told us that we would be working on nonverbal spells throughout the year. We paired up to practice jinxing and blocking in silence. Of course, there was an odd number. I was left standing in the corner. "Miss Lestrange," Snape said with that same smile. "It appears that you are left ... alone. Which means you will have to practice with me." Oh, joy. "Yes, sir," I said. "Get ready. I will try to jinx you, you will block it. You must do it nonverbally." "Yes, sir." It happened in a split-second. He flicked his wand and mine fell from my hand-Disarmed. "I told you to block it," he snarled. "You were too quick for me."

"What's that?" "I said you were too quick for me." "You may have noticed that I went easy on you. Disarming is not a jinx. However, I thought ... for a first timer ... well, we'll try this again." He flicked his wand. In my head, I said, Protego! and Snape's jinx rebounded off my invisible shield. "Yes," he said. "But you could have been quicker. Now, why don't you try to jinx me?" I tried to think of a good jinx. The only one that came to mind was the Impediment Jinx, which Harry had taught in the D.A. last year. Impedimenta, I thought. Snape was obviously quick enough to block it. With a lazy flick of his wand, the jinx rebounded. "Surely you could do better than that!" he snapped. I glared at the ground and muttered, "You're the teacher. I don't have a chance." "What's that?" "Nothing," I said. "Tell me!" "I said I don't stand a chance against you because you're the teacher!" I yelled. "Detention, Miss Tonks ... ah, no. Miss Lestrange. "Eight-o-clock tonight, my office." "Right," I groaned. "I'll be there." "Now, let's try again. Obviously you're still not getting the hang of it, so I'll continue to go easy ... " He Disarmed me again. As I bent down to pick up my wand, he said, "It would be nice if you would put forth some actual effort." "I am!" I exclaimed. "Apparently not! Try to jinx me again. I assure you I will block it, because I, unlike you, am actually trying."

"I am trying!" "Then prove it!" I pointed my wand at him. My anger had reached its max; it would be easy now. The consequences really didn't matter ... Cruc ... Cruc ... "Get on with it!" Cruci ... no. This was the wrong choice by far. Impedimenta. He blocked it and thundered, "I told you to give effort!" "I gave effort!" I was now aware that everyone in the class was staring at the scene. My wand was still pointed directly at Snape. He looked at me menacingly with his wand pointed too. He seemed too preoccupied looking at my face - which, when I was glaring with extreme hatred, looked exactly like my mother's - that he missed my jinx. Impedimenta. It hit, and Snape said, "Well, well ... it appears you got it correctly ... once. Next time I won't go so easy on you. It's a shame you felt the need to make a scene in order to distract me so you could perform." "Ugh!" I roared in rage, and began to insult him with as many profanities as I knew. "Make that a week of detentions, Miss Lestrange," Snape said without bothering to hide his amusement. "There's no need for that kind of language in my class. Remember, eight-o-clock." "I know!" I snarled, and began to stomp out of the classroom as I called him more names. I reached the door and grabbed the knob, turning it forcefully. I kicked the door angrily and began to step out. I looked back once, only to see Snape shake his head and say, "Like mother, like daughter." I slammed the door and ran off, trembling with rage and thinking about how much I wanted to curse him, to inflict as much pain on him as possible. He deserved it.

You did what?

I was in the dormitory alone after leaving D.A.D.A. early. I decided to vent my feelings to Dora through our journals. I told you! I said a bunch of stuff to him and nearly cursed his head off! What part of that don't you understand? You really, really need to stop. You need to get things under control. Imagine what could have happened if you did curse him. I know what would have happened, Dora; I'm not an idiot! I know what happened to my parents when they used that curse! All right! But listen, Lyra ... you really, really, really, really Get on with it. You really need to get this under control. I know it's hard, but there are ways. What kind of ways? Well, you need to vent your anger into something else. This journal, for instance. However, I won't always be around for you to write. Why don't you get a regular journal? I don't write. I don't have time, anyway. I only had time for this because I cut class. Forget it, then. If you're not willing to take my advice, I'll just leave. The words faded on the page, indicating that she had closed her journal. Or slammed it shut. I wrote one quick message to her, not caring if she got it later. I want to talk to you next Hogsmeade weekend. Dora was being stationed in Hogsmeade due to Auror duties, so I would have a chance to see her then. I just wasn't sure when the next trip would be. End Notes: I feel the need to say this now: I know the conversation between Lyra and Neville was awkward but I really want to stress that I don't want anyone to get the wrong impression...I'll just leave it at that :P Second, I'd like to thank the mods for helping me get chapters out so quickly this summer! Unfortunately they may not be submitted as quickly as they have been since I'm having a crazy, busy time

with band camp, school starting, etc. This school year I'll be taking on a more difficult schedule than I ever have before and hopefully it won't hinder my submitting speed too much. Back to index Chapter 31- Nott in the Plan by Lyra Lestrange Author's Notes: This chapter title is obviously a play on words, but it can be read a few different ways, as in 'this is not in the plan,' 'there's now a knot in the plan,' or 'Nott is now in the plan.' What's the plan, you ask? It's not really anything, it's just Lyra's life, I suppose, and what she expects to happen with it. ~Chapter 31- Nott in the Plan~ It was strange going down to the dungeons for Potions class when I knew that Snape wouldn't be there. I was lined up with everyone else who had made it into Potions - Harry, Ron, Hermione, four other Ravenclaws, Ernie Macmillan, and four Slytherins including Malfoy, Theodore Nott, and Blaise Zabini. Professor Slughorn was short, fat, and bald, but seemed friendly nonetheless. He was far more welcoming than Snape, at least, when we entered the classroom. The dungeon classroom already contained several cauldrons, each containing a different potion. They all gave off different odors. With the smell of different potions wafting around me, I set off to a table. Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Ernie took one, the Slytherins took one, and the Ravenclaws took one. I sat in the back at a table by myself, just as I liked it. Slughorn told us to get out our scales, potion kits, and potion book as he explained the potions in the room: Veritaserum, Polyjuice Potion, Amortentia, and Felix Felicis, a luck potion. He then told us to get to work on a Draught of the Living Death. I turned to page ten in Advanced Potion Making and looked at the recipe. It was by far the most complicated potion I had ever seen. I was cutting valerian roots when Slughorn began to walk around the room and observe our potions. When he reached my lonely table, he said, "Miss, you must be quite lonesome sitting by yourself. Why don't you join another table?" "Oh, no, I'm fine right here," I said, hanging my head slightly so I could hide my face as best as I could with a curtain of hair. I continued to chop the valerian roots hastily. They came out uneven. "Go on," he said. "Why don't you sit with those students over

there?" He pointed to the Slytherin table. "I'm sure they'd welcome you." "I - okay," I said reluctantly. I began to grab my stuff, and as soon as Slughorn's back was turned, I glared at him. Joining the Slytherins was the last thing I wanted to do. I slammed my scales onto the table and took at seat, giving Malfoy and Nott a glare as I sat down. They began to laugh, and Malfoy said mockingly, "Why don't you want to join us?" I glared at him again and began to say, "Now, you listen - " But Malfoy's hand was in the air and Slughorn was walking toward us. "Sir, I think you knew my grandfather, Abraxas Malfoy?" [*] he said, hoping for some recognition. After all, Slughorn had favored Harry and Blaise Zabini from the start because they were known to an extent - Harry's fame was obvious, Zabini's was because his mother was famous. "Yes," Slughorn said, "I was sorry to hear he had died, although of course it wasn't unexpected, dragon pox at his age..." [**] And he walked away without another word. I looked at Malfoy arrogantly and said, "He doesn't seem to think you're special at all ... please, just because he knew your grandfather? He probably taught a lot of our parents and grandparents ... " "Like yours?" Malfoy said coldly. "I'm surprised he doesn't give you special treatment. Daughter of two insane Death Eaters who both went mad in prison ... '" I glared at him again, and my words came back to me. "Might I remind you that your father is currently in prison right now? You listen, Draco Malfoy, and you listen good - " I whipped my wand out of my robe pocket at jabbed it at his throat - "If you mention my parents at all, or anything that has to do with ... anything, then I swear I will tell the whole school that you're my cousin. And I'm sure you don't want that, do you?" He opened his mouth to argue. I raised an eyebrow at him and said, "Your choice." He closed it and I lowered my wand. "Fine, Tonks. You get your way." My wand was at his throat again. "Don't call me Tonks!" "Young lady, is there a problem? You don't seem to be progressing on your potion," Slughorn said from behind me. I froze for a second

before stuffing my wand back in my pocket. "Sorry, Professor," I said. "I was just - I'll work on it." I looked at him, trying to look apologetic. His eyes narrowed and he said, "Now, what might your name be?" I looked down at the table and muttered, "Lyra Lestrange." The Slytherins began to laugh and coughed to muffle it. Slughorn said, "Ah, yes. I have heard of you. Taught your parents, you know. Your mother was quite extraordinary as I'm sure you're aware of. She had so much magical talent ... if only she had used it properly. It's a shame to see how things turned out, isn't it?" "Yes," I muttered as I grinded my teeth together furiously. "It is." I reached for my knife and grabbed it tightly as Slughorn walked away. I began to chop the rest of my roots furiously. As soon as Slughorn was out of earshot, Malfoy said, "How about that, Tonks?" "Careful, Draco," Theodore Nott said. "Angry girl with a sharp knife. I wouldn't provoke her if I were you." "Shut up," I growled as I dumped the roots into the cauldron. I stirred the mixture and turned to squeeze juice out of the next ingredient, sopophorous beans. As I pressed the knife into the bean, I said, "You have no idea what I'm capable of when I get angry, Malfoy." "Oh, actually I do," Malfoy said, quiet enough that Slughorn couldn't hear. "I know you can perform a deadly Cruciatus Curse." I stopped cutting the bean and said, "How ... how do you know that?" Malfoy and Nott laughed again and Malfoy said, "Your mummy told me." I dropped my knife; it hit the floor with a clatter. My hand was still frozen position as I said shakily, "Since when ... since when have you talked to my mother?" Malfoy laughed out loud. "Didn't you realize? Ever since the breakout, she's at our manor all the time. She's my aunt, you know. Tells me all sorts of stuff about the Dark Arts." "No!" I said. "You ... you ... " But I couldn't think of anything else to say.

"That's actually pretty impressive," Nott said. "No, it's not!" I said furiously. "It's not impressive at all that he's in contact with her! She's probably telling him all sorts of things about me! Not that she knows me at all, but she knows enough - " "That's not what I was talking about," Nott interrupted. "I meant, I think it's impressive that someone our age can perform a powerful Cruciatus Curse." "Don't be ridiculous," I said, bending down to pick up my knife. I was way behind on my potion. "I'm not being ridiculous," he said. "I think it would be great to be able to do that." "Why?" I asked in extreme bewilderment. "Well, if you're being attacked, you could easily curse the person attacking you. Then you could flee or kill them or whatever. It's a powerful curse." "Yeah, tell me something I don't know," I grumbled. "Have you ever had it used on you before?" Nott didn't say anything, so I went on. "It's stupid if you think it's great that I can perform this. You obviously don't have a brain, do you? It only works when I'm angry, and if I'm being attacked, chances are I won't think to use it. If you think a curse like that is cool, then you need a reality check. It's illegal, Nott, it can get you thrown in jail! Why do you think my parents went there?" "I never said it was cool," he said. "I said it was impressive." I snorted. "Yeah, right. Getting angry and attacking someone who's completely innocent is impressive." "Never mind," Nott said. "I didn't mean anything by it." To my surprise, his tone sounded honest. But why would a Slytherin talk to someone like me - not just a Gryffindor, but me - like that? "Er ... okay," I said, confused by his words. "Well, then ... I need to finish my potion, so ... " I stared down at the beans I was cutting, but was sure that Malfoy

was giving Nott a look. "Well," Malfoy said darkly, looking for any excuse to make me mad, "what about this morning in Defense Against the Dark Arts? What was your deal with Snape?" "Malfoy, I'm warning you - " "It's obvious, isn't it?" Nott said. "Snape made her angry, and she felt the need to leave before using a Cruciatus Curse on him. The most she could do was curse him - you know, not with magic, with words. Detention is probably better than prison, isn't it, Lyra?" I gave him a strange look as Malfoy glared at him, but the honest truth was, I couldn't have said it better myself. I continued to stir my potion, thinking, this is not in the plan. Shouldn't he be mocking me just like Malfoy? Why would Nott be defending me? "And time's ... up! Stop stirring, please," [***] Slughorn said. He began to make his rounds around the room, checking out the potions and seeing who had the best one. It obviously wasn't mine, because I hadn't finished it. I had surely messed up somewhere as my potion wasn't supposed to be bright yellow and paste-thick. "Miss Lestrange, what happened?" Slughorn asked as he peered over my cauldron. "I messed up, sir," I said. "I see. How about you, Mr. Malfoy? Hmmm ... not bad. And Mr. Nott?" Malfoy smirked at me, obviously mocking the yellow mess-up in my cauldron. He seemed to think he had already won the prize for best potion, a tiny bottle of Felix Felicis. "The clear winner!" Slughorn announced after checking everyone's mixtures. "Excellent, excellent, Harry!" [***] Now it was my turn to smirk. I looked at Malfoy and said, "How about that? Beaten by a Gryffindor who previously couldn't mix potions at all." "Shut up, Tonks - " "Remember what I said, cousin dearest," I told him mockingly. And when we were dismissed, I wore a satisfied expression.

However, once that had worn off, I became confused again. It was one thing for Malfoy to know so much about me. But Nott? I felt like he could read my mind. Was it possible for him to be in contact with my mother, was it? No, it wasn't ... so how had he figured me out like that? End Notes: [*] Quote taken from the American Edition and Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, page 189 [**] 189-190 [***] page 191 *Takes a deep breath and braces self for the reviews* Back to index Chapter 32- Brooms and Bludgers by Lyra Lestrange Author's Notes: Unfortunately for this to work, I had to postpone the Nott stuff for one chapter. Hope it's not too choppy. ~Chapter 32- Brooms and Bludgers~ I pushed Theodore Nott from my mind over the next several days in order to focus on my schoolwork. The nonverbal spells we had practiced in Defense Against the Dark Arts were now being used in Charms and Transfiguration. The potions we brewed were getting increasingly more difficult, and in Herbology we were messing with plants more dangerous than we had ever dealt with before. N.E.W.T. levels were seriously difficult; I had no time to think about other less-important topics. Even Astronomy was getting hard. I wanted to give up on the star charts we were doing because they seemed next to impossible. It wasn't until I went to bed early one night without bothering to finish my homework that I remembered the Lunascope I had. I opened my trunk and pulled it out, thinking about how much it would help me with the assignment. But my eyes pooled up with tears when I thought about who had given it to me. I couldn't do it. I threw the Lunascope back in the trunk. I was about to slam the lid shut when I caught a glimpse of the Firebolt again. I began to reach out and grab it when my journal started vibrating on my nightstand. I opened it and saw Dora's handwriting... Hey, are you there?

Yes. What is it? I just wanted to check in on you and see how things are going. I'm fine. And you don't have to treat me like I'm three. I can take care of myself. All right, then! Right, I'm sorry. Well, how are things? Not bad. Snape's detention was a nightmare, though. I had to pick all of the gum from under the desks in his classroom and then clean the floor with mess remover. Well ... you ... never mind. I know I got what I deserved! Yes, that's what I was going to say. Anyway, anything else? How are you? Are you doing any better? No. I'm sorry to hear that. Listen, our first Hogsmeade trip is in midOctober. Is it all right if I meet you at the Three Broomsticks? That's fine. Thanks. Well, I should go. I have homework. Okay. Bye. I paused for a second. I was about to shut the journal when a sudden, insane thought hit me. Dora? Are you still there? Yeah. May I ask you something? What is it? Do you think I'm a good flier?

I waited a few seconds. She didn't seem to have an immediate response. Finally she answered with: You're not bad. Why do you want to know? Well ... Sirius gave me a Firebolt. And I want to use it ... well, I don't, but I think he would want me to. And Quidditch tryouts are coming up and I thought it might help me with my anger ... you know, if I tried out for Beater. If I have a good broom, I might as well use it, you know? Her next response came with no hesitation: Lyra, I think that's a great idea! You should go for it. Really? You do? Well, I'll try out. I'll tell you if I make it. Great! Hey, I have to go. Talk to you later. Okay, bye. That was that. I was trying out for Quidditch.

The next morning, I went to the common room to put my name on the list. My heart fell slightly when I saw the number of other students trying out, but upon closer inspection I realized most of them were just girls who might at well start an I Love Harry Potter Fan Club. Harry was the new Gryffindor Quidditch Captain, so chances were most of the people weren't trying out because they liked Quidditch. After breakfast I grabbed my broomstick and walked to the Quidditch pitch. I really wasn't nervous about trying out, just nervous because I had never flown on my Firebolt before. Since there were so many applicants, Harry told us to get into groups of ten or so and fly around the pitch once to see if we could actually fly at all. From the beginning it was obvious that Quidditch was not the reason for signing up. When it was finally my turn to fly around the pitch, I realized I did have nerves after all. But the moment I mounted my broom for the first time ever, I knew that I loved it. As soon as I began to fly with the group, I saw a huge difference between the Firebolt and my old Comet Two-Sixty. With the Firebolt, it was extremely fast, easy to turn, and extremely smooth as it cut through the air. I was actually

the first one to finish the circle. Then Harry announced that the Chaser trial was first. Everyone trying out went onto the field and practiced throwing goals through the hoops. As this went on, I sat in the stands and watched as I ran my fingers over the handle of my broom. "So, what position are you trying out for?" asked a voice. It came from the guy next to me. I looked over at him. I recognized him as seventh year Cormac McLaggen. "Um, Beater," I said. "Ah," he said, looking extremely satisfied. "I'm trying out for Keeper. I noticed you had a Firebolt and you flew pretty well out there. I was worried that you might actually be some competition for me. The rest of the people trying out for Keeper don't stand a chance. Anyway, good luck. I hope to see you on the team with me." "Uh ... you do know you have to try out first, right?" I asked, annoyed. "Well, yeah, but I know I'll make it." "Right." When Harry announced the new Chasers - Katie Bell; a seventh year who had previously been on the team for years; Ginny Weasley, who had flown the best; and Demelza Robins, a new girl who had dodged the Bludgers well - many others began to protest, argue, and even throw tantrums. "They're such bad sports, aren't they?" Cormac McLaggen said. "Yeah," I replied as Harry told the Beaters to come down. I went down and joined the others on the pitch. Harry had us go two at a time. I was last in line. When the second and third to last applicants, Jimmy Peakes and Ritchie Coote, were trying out, Harry said to me, "Well, they're not Fred and George, but they're probably the new Beaters. Unless you can do better." "I don't know," I muttered. "I'm going to try, but I've never flown on this broom before. Or even played Quidditch at all, for that matter." "Well, it's your turn," he said as Peakes and Coote left the field with the bats in their hands. "Give it your best. Nice broom, by the way." "Thanks," I said, feeling particularly fond of Sirius's present. I took a

bat from one of the boys and walked onto the pitch. I mounted my broom and flew upward gracefully on the Firebolt, but stopped when I saw the number of people staring at me from the crowd. Harry released the Bludgers and I began to dodge them furiously. One of them flew at me and I swung at it, but missed ... it grazed the side of my arm and I felt lucky that it hadn't hit me or my broom. I felt myself slipping off and grabbed the handle of the Firebolt as another Bludger sped towards me. I didn't think to hit it, but flew away from it instead. I was near the goal posts when the Bludger caught up. I swung again and missed. This time I hit the bat against a goal post and almost fell off again. The crowd laughed and I felt ashamed. Why had I even attempted this? I swung at the Bludger coming at me and finally hit it, but it sped off weakly. The people in the crowd were now getting amused at my attempts. I heard them muttering things like, "She obviously doesn't play" and "Why did she even bother coming?" I wanted to give up. There was no way I could become a Beater like this. Why had I chosen to humiliate myself? It wasn't like I ever had a chance. Then someone - I don't know who - but someone in the stands yelled, "Why don't you just go to Slytherin where you belong?" That did it. I felt the rage coming on. Go to Slytherin where I belong? The Bludger zoomed at me and I swung the bat angrily with as much force as I had. It sped off at top speed and came back - I hit again. It was working. Every Bludger than came at me was sent away with force, and when my trial ended, Harry said, "Wow. That was great. I'd say you're definitely on the team. You hit the Bludgers excellently." Then he called everyone who had tried out for Beater over to announce the results. I stood anxiously, hoping my trial had been good enough even though Harry had complimented me. I was also still slightly affronted at whoever had made that comment - though, thanks to them, I was probably on the team. "All right," Harry said. "Our Beaters will be Jimmy Peakes - " He turned to a third year boy, who looked back happily, " - and Lyra Lestrange," he said.

Many people began to protest and several shot me looks of dislike. Whether it was because of the obvious or because they wanted the position, I didn't know, until I noticed they weren't giving Jimmy the same looks. Though happy about making Quidditch, I tried not to look too satisfied as I joined the rest of the team in the stands. Ginny smiled at me and said, "Hi! You were great. I didn't know you played Quidditch." I looked out to the pitch the Keepers were now going onto with their brooms in hand and said, "Neither did I." "And you did really well. I like your broom, by the way. I would love to have a Firebolt." I looked over at her worn-out Cleansweep Five and said, "Well, it was a gift ... from ... someone." She shrugged. "So was my broom. I've had the same one since before Hogwarts. It was my first broom." "It's not really about the quality of the broom, don't you think?" I said to her. "It's more about the importance of it to you. I mean, your broom was your first broom. Mine was a present." "Yeah. Who gave you your broom?" I paused for a second before answering, "Sirius." "Oh," she said, sadness in her voice. "Well ... anyway, great trial." "Hey, Ginny ... by chance, do you know who made that comment? The one about me being in Slytherin?" "Oh," she said, rolling her eyes. "That was Romilda Vane. She's a fourth year. She was one of those girls from the second group who began laughing when Harry told them to fly." She rolled her eyes again. "I would ignore it." "Yeah ... "

Ron, Keeper from last year, ended up returning after a perfect trial. Cormac McLaggen almost made it, but lost by one penalty. He didn't take it well, either; he had a bad temper like the rest of the rejects. That evening I was in the dormitory, thinking about how pleased I

was about making the team. It was something I had never done and something I hadn't thought I could do - but now I had. And hopefully it would help the anger issues. I wondered what my parents would think now. Had they been Quidditch players? Probably not, but maybe ... That's when I remembered my original plan - to discover the past and find out what happened. And now that I was at Hogwarts, I could at least discover what kind of students they had been when they had attended the school. The trophy room would be the first place to check. I was ready for bed. I gave one last grateful look to the Firebolt in my trunk before getting under the covers. Before I closed my eyes, however, I reached over and opened my journal, leaving Dora one short message: I made the team. Back to index Chapter 33- Stars and Snakes by Lyra Lestrange Author's Notes: This is one of my favorite chapters, and if you liked 'Nott in the Plan' you'll probably like this one more. ~Chapter 33- Stars and Snakes~ Well, I had earned another detention with Snape. Therefore, the night that was meant to be spent at my first Quidditch practice was instead spent in Snape's gloomy office sorting through old punishment cards. "Miss Lestrange," he said upon my arrival, giving me that smile I hated. "I have your detention task ready." "Yes, sir. What is it?" I asked bitterly. He pointed to several boxes and said, "Lately, Mr. Filch has wanted to sort through these. They are old files containing notations of former Hogwarts students - their crimes and their punishments. Many of the cards have been ruined. I need you to recopy these and put them back in their boxes in alphabetical order without magic. Understand?" "Yes," I grumbled. "Yes, sir." "Yes, sir."

"Get to work," he said. "Why don't you start with these boxes? You may see some - ah - names that are quite familiar to you in here." "Yes, sir." I knelt down on the floor and began to pull out the cards. The first one, to my surprise, read, Rodolphus Lestrange. Cursed first year in hallway. First year's face bright blue and covered in orange spots; head expanding at rapid rate. Week of detention. I felt Snape's eyes on me and hastily began to recopy it. Once I was finished, I pulled out the next one, which wasn't any better ... Rodolphus and Rabastan Lestrange. Jinxed three third years in Great Hall. Third years now in hospital wing with rash. Week of detention. How many weeks of his school years did my father spend in detention? It wasn't exactly a surprise, based on how things had turned out. But the next card caught my attention a bit more. Bellatrix Black. Used illegal jinx on first year. First year's hair caught fire and burned off; currently in hospital wing. Week of detention. "Isn't it great knowing that they, just like you, were in detention constantly?" Snape said after I pulled this one out and stared at it. "Yeah," I groaned. "Real great." I pulled out the next card, which gave me more of a shock than anything else. Bellatrix and Andromeda Black. Vandalized school property by damaging gargoyle by use of illegal hex. Two weeks of detention. Andromeda? Andromeda? How in Merlin's name could she have received detention? Had Bellatrix made her do it? Most likely. But Andromeda said they had been close. Close sisters didn't really get each other into trouble like this, did they? But as I recopied the names, I remembered the time I had covered for Dora one summer night after her sixth year, when she was desperate to see her boyfriend after Ted and Andromeda had forbid her from doing so. Both of us had been punished as hard as the other. I returned to the cards. Was it even necessary to keep them? Couldn't these old crimes and punishments just die? He had totally done this on purpose, of course. Snape wanted me to sort through these cards just so I would be affected like this. I was determined not to show any reactions, though, so I carried on with the cards. Occasionally I saw Andromeda's or Narcissa's name crop up again

with Bellatrix's. The Lestrange brothers appeared often. Finally Snape dismissed me. It was extremely late and past curfew, but I didn't head for the dormitories. Instead I silently moved through the entrance hall to the castle grounds. Going outside into the dark was the only thing I felt like doing. I went to the edge of the forest and sat near the trees. I knew nobody could see me from here. I was far from Hagrid's hut, staring across the lake. The black water rippled as the stars and moon reflected on it. The night was so clear, in fact, that I could spot the familiar constellations in the reflection. There was Gamma Orionis, the star I usually looked for. It seemed to shine brighter than the rest tonight, though I knew I was just imagining this. As I had learned in Astronomy, Gamma Orionis was simply the twenty-seventh brightest star in the sky. But tonight, in my eyes, it was number one. I sighed and rested my chin against my knees, thinking about how things just weren't fair. I knew life wasn't fair; everyone knows that. But I just wished things could be a bit fairer for me. It wasn't fair that my parents had left me when I was young. It wasn't fair that I didn't know everything I wanted to know. It wasn't fair that Draco Malfoy, my cousin but ultimately my rival, probably knew my parents better than I did. It wasn't fair that Andromeda wouldn't tell me anything. It wasn't fair that Snape made me go through those cards just to torment me. It wasn't fair that things had come to this and now I was constantly on the verge of snapping and getting sent to Azkaban. My eyes filled with tears, turning the lake and stars to watery ink. It wasn't fair that Sirius had to go. It wasn't fair that Bellatrix had to kill him. I looked away from the lake and the stars. To the right, I saw a tiny black snake slithering over the grass, moonlight shining on its scales. I closed my eyes and this vision burned inside my head. I felt myself drifting away, but the snake scales were still printed in my mind ... I was falling through darkness again. It wasn't the first time I had experienced this sensation. The darkness seemed endless, but eventually I hit ground. I was in a forest, a giant forest. The trees were huge, their trunks large and round, seeming to go up forever. Their roots jutting from the ground were nearly impossible to climb over. I began to walk. I

lifted my foot over one of the roots and stepped down. I tripped, and was on the ground. Several snakes slid out from behind the tree closest to me. There were countless numbers of them, each about the same size. But they weren't normal snakes. These snakes were emerald green, so bright they burned my eyes. They looked like they were glowing. I had never seen anything like them, not even in my Defense Against the Dark Arts books. Suddenly they were crawling all over me, securing me to the ground. I couldn't get up. I tried, but felt something heavy on my back. Then I realized it was a snake, just like the others, only much, much bigger. It glowed emerald just like the rest, but was about five times and round and ten times longer. It wrapped around me, squeezing me tighter and tighter, until it was about to devour me whole. Its mouth was up to my head ... Then I felt a nudge on my side. It felt more real than the snakes that covered my body. I felt it again. With a gasp, my eyes snapped open. I was looking at the lake again. I found myself shaking and covered in sweat. There was also this uncomfortable feeling, like the snakes were still crawling on me. "Hey, are you all right?" I heard a voice, but was too unsettled to know where it had come from. Something in the back of my mind told me that whoever was talking was also the one who had nudged me awake. "Are you all right?" the voice repeated. I looked over and saw a face in front of me. It took me several seconds to realize who it was, but as my eyes focused I saw that it was Theodore Nott. What was he doing out here this late? I couldn't speak. I opened my mouth, but no sound came out. "Listen, I can take you to the hospital wing if you need it." "No ... " My voice came out rough. "I'm - I'm fine ... just ... bad dream ... that's all ... " "Yeah, you looked like you were dreaming. It must have been a pretty terrible nightmare." "Yes," I said, finding my voice at last. "Yeah, a nightmare ... well ... " I stared at the lake again and remembered what had confused me.

"What in Merlin's name are you doing out here at this time?" I demanded. "I could ask you the same thing," he replied. "I just ... wanted some time alone. I didn't feel like going to bed. Obviously I needed to, though." "You sure did. And as for your question ... maybe I just wanted some time alone too." I looked at him, puzzled. "Why would you need time alone?" "To think," he said. "Why else?" I sighed and looked at the lake without answering. "I can take you back to the castle," he said. I glared at the water and snapped, "I don't need any help, especially from a Slytherin. Especially from you." I tried to stand up but still felt shaky. My legs trembled and collapsed. He caught me and held me up. "Let me go," I snarled. "I'm capable of getting back on my own, thanks." He released me, and I began to walk off, trying my hardest to stay steady. He followed me along the lakeshore. "What do you want?" I asked angrily. "You don't have to follow me back!" "I'm not following you!" he said. "I'm going back, too! I need to sleep just like you." "Well, go ahead of me, then!" He didn't listen, but walked by me still and asked, "What were you dreaming about?" I stopped and turned to glare at him. "Why do you want to know? It's none of your business. If you hadn't noticed, I was having a nightmare that I'd rather not think about right now." "You know, a lot can be interpreted from dreams," he said. "I know that. I took Divination for three years, but it's not like my

dreams ever held any secrets! Now you can leave me alone!" I began to run toward the castle doors. When I heard his footsteps crunching the leaves behind me, I whipped my wand out and pointed it at him. "Listen, if you don't stop following me, I'm going to curse you. You know what I can do when I get upset, and you're pushing it really far." "All right," he said. "I'll let you go." "Thank you." I turned around and trotted back to the oak front doors and was about to reach for the doorknob when I stopped. I turned around and saw Nott standing exactly where he had been several seconds before. I sighed and walked back to him. "Aren't you coming back inside?" "I was waiting for you to enter the castle so you wouldn't think I was following you," he hissed. "What do you want? Do you want me to come with you or stay behind? Make up your mind!" I turned to face the greenhouses without looking at him. I was beginning to get frustrated, not just with him, but with myself for being so quick to judge, so I said, "Fine. Come with me. But first, will you tell me why you were out here this late?" "Well, it's not your business," he said, "but I'll tell you. I do this a lot. I never get caught sneaking out. I just have a lot of things on my mind, so going outside at midnight helps this. I know you're wondering what I have on my mind, so fine - I'll tell you. You may or may not know this, but my father is a Death Eater." I thought about this for a moment and remembered the Department of Mysteries battle ... Lucius Malfoy had said, "Leave Nott, leave him, I say ... " [*] "Yeah. I may have heard his name somewhere." "So you know that," he said. "So there. Both of us have parents who are Death Eaters. You would understand that, wouldn't you?" "Well, sure," I said. "Is your mother a Death Eater as well?" "My mother's dead," he said. "She died when I was young." "I'm sorry to hear that," I said, and while I meant it I didn't really

sound sorry. "Don't be sorry. Point is, my father - being the Death Eater that he is-has his heart set on me becoming a Death Eater when I'm out of school, or earlier, if possible. However, I don't want to be a Death Eater." "And why wouldn't you want to be a Death Eater?" I asked. "Aren't all Slytherins - ?" He interrupted me. "I knew you were going to give me that. The answer is no, not all Slytherins want to be Death Eaters. I believe your aunt was in Slytherin? She's not a Death Eater, is she?" "Narcissa isn't, but she's as good as! Her husband and sister both - " "Your other aunt," he said. "Oh." True, Andromeda had been a Slytherin, and she was as far from a Death Eater as possible. "Yeah." "Besides, it's not like all Gryffindors are good," he said. "Look where Peter Pettigrew ended up." "Okay, okay! I see your point!" "Yes, well, that's about it. I get stressed enough thinking of becoming a Death Eater one day. I know there's no way out. What my father wants, my father gets." "Oh," I said. "Then ... why are you telling me this? Is it safe to assume you haven't told anyone this before? Why me?" For once, he looked embarrassed. "I don't know ... I guess, since I found out who you were, I felt some sort of...connection to you. You know ... I'm a Slytherin but I don't fit in ... you're a Gryffindor that doesn't really fit in ... we both have parents who are Death Eaters ... " "Yes, but we're not alike at all," I said. "And I do belong in Gryffindor -" He snorted. "Yeah, right. A Lestrange never belongs in Gryffindor. Neither does a Black, which you are as well. Isn't it common knowledge that Black equals Slytherin?" Feeling angrier, I said, "There are exceptions! And I'm hardly a Lestrange - my parents haven't exactly raised me, have they? You know, I think the Sorting Hat places more value on character than

blood, really." "Right. Well, whatever. That's my story, and I'm leaving now. It's late." "I had no idea," I said sarcastically. "I guess I'm leaving too." I walked toward the front doors once again. This time Nott followed and entered the castle behind me. I began to walk toward the grand staircase as he went left toward the dungeons. I stepped on the top step and said awkwardly, "Well ... uh, thanks for sharing your story." He shrugged, said, "You're welcome, I guess," and continued to the dungeons. End Notes: [*] Quote taken from the American Edition of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, page 788 I'm sad to say that updates will be a lot slower from here on out. I had plenty of time to submit in the summer, but three days into the new school year I'm already swamped with work to do and barely have time to get online. I will get the whole thing submitted, though, so stick with it :) Back to index Chapter 34- Visit to the Village by Lyra Lestrange ~Chapter 34- Visit to the Village~ I thought it would feel great to be getting out of the castle and into Hogsmeade for the first time this school year. After getting past the barrier of Filch checking our names off the list and jabbing us extragood with the Secrecy Sensor, we were allowed to enter the village. There was sleet falling outside and the cold and wind immediately made my eyes sting and my face numb, making me think this wouldn't be so great after all. The village had changed a lot. A few shops had been closed down, including Zonko's joke shop. It wasn't unlike Diagon Alley. I went into the Three Broomsticks, hoping it wasn't overcrowded. I knew it was destined to be, however, because everybody wanted to warm up. But the thought of warm butterbeer led me onward towards the pub. I was about to find an empty table when I heard someone call my name. I looked around and saw, much to my surprise, Dora. She was walked right towards me, smiling for once. "Hi," I said.

"Hi! Hey, follow me. I have a table." I followed her to an empty table and we ordered our butterbeers. Immediately I noticed that she seemed much happier than the last time I saw her. Only now, her hair was totally brown. "Dora," I said, "have you been able to change your appearance lately?" She sighed and said, "No. I've tried, I really have, but ... nothing. Well, how have things been?" I stared into my butterbeer and swirled it around with a stirrer. Without looking at her, I said, "Okay. I've been in detention a lot." "With Snape?" "Yes," I said with shame. "I keep blowing up at him." "It's okay. You're going through a difficult time. We all are." I continued to stir my butterbeer as I said, "So ... anything new with you? Has Remus - I mean, have you talked to him at all?" I looked up at her and saw sadness in her face and immediately regretted mentioning him. "No," she said. "I tried to talk to him again, but ... " She didn't say anything else. I quickly changed the subject. "So uh ... the Order? How are things with them?" She sighed again. "Well, Remus is working underground with a bunch of other werewolves ... " Well, I'd tried to change the subject. "Well ... er ... then how are things at home? Have you visited Andromeda and Ted?" "A bit," she said. "Things are as normal as can be." I took a sip of my butterbeer when the door to the pub opened and Theodore Nott came in. I had no idea what happened next but I was gripped by some weird, sudden urge to rush out the door into the cold, so I said, "Dora, I have to go." She looked at me, alarm in her face. "Why?"

"I just do," I said. "I told ... uh, Hermione that I would meet her at Honeydukes." She gave me a perplexed look but didn't argue when I stood up, said, "Thanks for buying my butterbeer," and rushed out the door. Once outside, I found myself blushing hotly in the cold wind. Why had I acted like that? It was total lunacy. I thought nothing of Theodore Nott, the arrogant Slytherin (although maybe not as arrogant as Draco Malfoy). But my mind drifted back to my encounter with him the other night. He had said he felt connected to me. It was probably true. I didn't always fit in as a Gryffindor, no matter what I insisted. And he didn't belong in Slytherin. We both had Death Eaters for parents ... That didn't mean anything, though. None of it did. We were two separate people with completely different lives. As I thought about these things over and over, I found myself walking down the High Street and toward the Shrieking Shack. I leaned over the fence and stared at it, thinking about what had happened there not so long ago ... "There she is!" I heard. I turned around. Malfoy, Crabbe and Goyle behind him, were coming toward me. Crabbe and Goyle laughed, but Malfoy looked stern. "What do you want?" I asked coldly, but beneath it was obvious exasperation. "I want to know what's between you and Nott," Malfoy demanded. I felt myself growing hot with embarrassment again, but I said, "There's nothing going on between us." "Well, he told me he met you on the grounds the other night. I just want you to know that there better not be anything going on, because everybody knows Gryffindors and Slytherins don't mix." "He ... he told you?" I asked. At that moment, any feelings I had were replaced by disappointment. I had trusted him not to say a thing. "Yeah," Malfoy said. "Well ... actually I forced him to tell me once he got back to the dormitory. He didn't exactly want to." "Oh," I said, feeling slightly more pleased. "Well, in that case - "

"I have to go," Malfoy interrupted. "Important business. Remember what I said. Anyway, must go ... but I'll have some fun first. Petrificus Totalus!" I fell to the ground, immobilized as Malfoy laughed and stalked off. I cursed in my head. I was completely helpless. There was no way I could get myself out of this one. I was stuck until someone came along and assisted me. I lay there pathetically in the cold. I felt my body going numb and my eyes streaming from the wind. How long had I been there? It seemed too soon that I heard the voice - all-too-familiar - say, "Who did this?" The person moved closer. Of course - Theodore Nott. My stomach lurched and my face burned. Did he have to be the one to find me like this? He muttered the countercurse under his breath before repeating his question. "Malfoy," I muttered, sitting up and looking away, trying to hide my face. "He thought he'd have some fun." "Here," he said. I looked over and saw that he was offering his hand. I took it (feeling more embarrassed) and said, "You don't have to help me." He pulled me to my feet and said, "Don't worry about it. Come with me." He began to walk me to the Three Broomsticks. He opened the door and found an empty table for us in the back. I didn't see Dora anywhere, so I assumed she had left. That was good; I really didn't want her to see me like this. I sat down, my face still red from cold and embarrassment as Nott ordered each of us a butterbeer. "So," he said, "what were you doing talking to Draco Malfoy?" "I wasn't," I told him. "He just came over and attacked me." He rolled his eyes. "Sounds like him." "I don't understand how you can be friends with someone like that," I said. "Friends?" he asked. "We're not friends, we just share a dormitory."

"Then what about that day in Potions?" I asked. "You seem like you're friends." "We're just acquaintances," he said, shrugging. "I don't know why it matters, anyway. Lately he's been hiding something. I don't know what it is. He refuses to talk about it." "Well, he's not the only one who hides things from certain people," I said. "What are you talking about?" "I'm still confused," I replied. "I still don't get why you told me all that stuff the other day. It's hard to believe I'm the only one who knows any of it." He shrugged again. "You were the right person to tell." "How can you be so casual about it?" I exclaimed furiously. "Becoming a - " I lowered my voice to a whisper - "Death Eater is serious business! Besides, you don't even know me, so why would you tell me your darkest secret?" "I know about you," he said. "I know who you are. I know you're drawn to trouble. That, or trouble always finds you." "Yes," I said, blushing scarlet and forgetting everything else. "Why is it that every time you find me, I'm in some sort of stupid, humiliating predicament?" "Why does it matter to you?" he asked casually. "You don't like me, do you?" I didn't answer. "Are you finished with that?" he asked, motioning at my half-empty butterbeer. "Yes," I answered. "Er ... thanks for buying it." I sat up and hurried out of the pub, wanting nothing more than to leave at that moment. However, the overcrowded tables made that a difficult task. "Wait," I heard Nott say. "Lyra, wait!" I was just outside the door when he grabbed me and turned me around. He said, "Why did you run off like that?"

"I wanted to ... go to Honeydukes," I said, thinking of the first excuse that came to mind. "I hear they have Deluxe Sugar Quills now." He smiled smugly at me. "Deluxe Sugar Quills, eh? Guess I can't compete with that." He raised an eyebrow, and I said, "What do you want?" Continuing to give me that mocking look, he said, "I'm no Hermione Granger, Lyra, but it doesn't really take a genius to figure out what's going on." "What, then? What's going on?" I was getting angrier by the second. "All right, listen. Like I've said before, I feel we have a lot of similarities. A connection. And I think, unless I'm much mistaken, that you're feeling a connection too." I gaped at him. "That is not ... that's not ... I don't ... you must be much mistaken, then! How can you think ... ?" He raised his eyebrow again, and I was forced to admit to myself that it was true for the first time: I was totally falling for him. "Then what do you want?" I snarled. His face lost the smug look. "Well, I'll be straightforward. Would you like to come with me to Hogsmeade on the next trip? We could go on another date." "Another? Another? We haven't been on a date, you idiot!" "Sure we have. Just now." "That was not a date!" He gave me that smile again, causing me to secretly admit defeat. Did he always have to be right? As he continued to give me that look, I stared at the ground and thought. Did I want him? Well, sure. I'd just told myself that much. Did he want me? Well, he wasn't exactly being elusive. So why was I so determined to fight against what I felt? The answer came to me: because of who I was. All my life I was so convinced that I would never be able to have a boyfriend. The fact that I could now hadn't crossed my mind at all since my identity revelation because so many other things had taken place.

But the fact that I could now scared me. I'd hardly even been noticed before, let alone asked out. And he was a Slytherin on top of being good-looking and fairly well-known, despite being a loner. What did it matter? This was my chance. "So?" Nott asked. "It's a simple yes or no question." For once, he sounded serious, not casual or smug. He really wanted an answer, so ... I looked up at him and forced out the words: "Okay. I'll go to Hogsmeade with you next trip." After all, it wasn't for a few weeks, so I could put it to the back of my mind until the time came. "Great!" he said, looking truly happy. "So, uh ... Deluxe Sugar Quills? Shall we go to Honeydukes?" Well, I guess there was still this Hogsmeade trip to finish. I had just agreed, so there was no way out. I walked next to him down the street awkwardly and somewhat reluctantly. Immediately I regretted ever agreeing to go out with him. After all, every bond I had shared with someone ended up in heartbreak and depression. Sirius was dead, Dora was out of it, and things were only growing worse. It seemed I always lost everyone I loved. Maybe going out with Theodore wasn't such a great idea. But it was too late to take it back. End Notes: I hope it's okay that Draco acts like this. I know during book 6 he's not really concerned with bullying anymore since he's preoccupied with other things, but I really like making him out to be a jerk like he is in the books. Besides, somebody had to bother Lyra so Nott could find her. Back to index Chapter 35- Realizations by Lyra Lestrange Author's Notes: Possibly my favorite one yet :) ~Chapter 35- Realizations~ I was eating dinner in the Great Hall. Actually, I was just picking at my mashed potatoes due to the fact that I didn't have an appetite. Ever since Hogsmeade the previous day, I had felt like I was trapped in a hole that there was no way out of. I wanted beyond anything to get out of my date with Nott, and the fact that it wasn't for a few weeks only gave me more time to worry about it. I tried convincing myself that it was one measly little date and wasn't necessarily

going to go anywhere. It didn't help when I thought about this, however, because it made me think of something else ... Maybe, just maybe, I was hoping it would go somewhere. I promised myself that I wouldn't fall into that. I wasn't ready for a romantic relationship by any means, not with everything else I had to deal with. I knew nothing about the subject after being an invisible wall my whole life. This gave me a bit of hope. Maybe Nott would see that I didn't know how to be in a relationship and would let me go. But of course, that brought me back to the problem on the other hand: maybe, just maybe, I wanted to go somewhere with him. After dinner I grabbed my broomstick from my trunk in the dormitory before heading to the grounds. It was growing dark outside and hardly anyone was out. I mounted my broom and began to speed across the lake. As always, the feeling of flying through the wind hit me, which I loved. I thought I would never want to face this broomstick after Sirius died, but my mind was completely changed now. Now, it was like a part of him. When I was on my broom, it almost felt like he was right there. I was out for hours. It wasn't until it was dark that I realized it was far past curfew. Then I began to panic. Not because there was the possibility of being caught, but because there was the chance Nott might come out. Just as I had figured, the moment I began to retreat to the castle I saw him sitting by a tree at the edge of the lake. Had he seen me flying around on the other side? More importantly, how was I going to get around without him noticing? As if on cue, he stood up and walked over to me. That answered my question: he had seen me flying. "Lyra," he said once he approached. "You're out late again." "Yeah," I replied, my voice dry. "Um ... I was just heading back." "Oh. Well, okay then. I'll let you go. See you later." I felt awkward as I mumbled, "You too." He was being far too casual in my opinion, acting as if we knew each other well. "Hold on," he said, stopping me in my tracks. I turned around. He said, "Are you sure you're okay? You look a little distressed."

I replied with, "I'm always distressed these days. Don't worry about me. I'm going back to the castle." "Wait, Lyra!" He was running toward me again, and I turned around, trying to keep my frustration under control. "I need to ask you something." What now? "What?" I asked out loud, sounding slightly annoyed and feeling sorry as soon as I spoke. "Listen. The other day in Hogsmeade, you didn't seem so sure about the whole ... seeing each other thing. So if you want to forget about it, I'm willing to ... you know ... break it off." I sighed as several different feelings hit me at once. "It's - it's got nothing to do with you," I said as my voice cracked with emotion. "It's everything to do with me, and who I am." "So are you saying we should forget about Hogsmeade?" I thought for a moment and said, "No. I've just been afraid. My parents haven't exactly raised me, my cousin - though she might as well be my sister - hasn't been herself, and Sirius Black, who was my cousin, is dead. Everyone I love is disappearing, so I feel like ... like isolating myself from the world so I don't have to face losing anyone else. I'm just afraid of being hurt." "You don't think I would hurt you, do you?" he said gently. "No," I said again, holding back tears with all my might. I wasn't about to cry in front of him. "I don't. But if I became close to you, there's always the possibility that I'd lose you too ... or anyone, for that matter. It doesn't matter who, but everyone disappears ... somehow." Well, I had failed at preventing the tears from falling. I sat on the ground and began to weep into my hands as silently as possible, trying to stop them. I felt like a complete idiot, knowing he was standing right over me and staring as I had an emotional meltdown. Once I finally managed to control the tears, I continued to sit on the ground with my head in my hands. I didn't want to look up at him in case he was laughing, or wearing an expression that clearly said he thought I was a joke. But when he spoke, his voice was sympathetic. "You haven't said

this to anyone else, have you?" "There hasn't been anyone to tell," I mumbled loud enough for him to hear. A second later, he was kneeling in front of me, saying, "Come on. I'll help you up." I peeked through my fingers and saw him holding out his hand for me. I peeled my hands from my face and grasped his with my right. He pulled me to my feet and, looking me right in the eyes (which were extremely red and puffy) asked, "Do you want to talk? Or do you want to return to the castle?" I looked back at him for a second before I made up my mind. Talking about things would possibly give me a clearer head. "I want to talk." He nodded and, turning away, led me to the spot he had been minutes before: beneath the tree by the lake. We sat down and he said, "So, what's going on?" "Everything," I said, and the words began to flow out of my mouth how I couldn't control my anger, how I kept winding up in Snape's detentions, how my parents were out in the world working for Voldemort (including, but not limited to killing people, blasting buildings apart, and creating terror wherever they went). It was actually quite strange. I thought discussing these things would be hard, but it seemed to be exactly what I needed. I realized then that I hadn't had anyone to tell this to until now. Maybe that was why I was so enraged all the time. Nott didn't say a thing as I talked. He listened to every word without any sort of interruption. Eventually I stopped and turned to stare at the lake. I felt really awkward for a second, wondering why I had told him any of this. Then I felt stupid - he was a Slytherin, therefore he could use anything I said against me. How did I know he wasn't secretly thinking I was some idiot who couldn't handle anything? Then I thought, well, he did ask me out. Was that a joke, too? Or did he really mean it? "Ugh!" I groaned, and leaned back against the grass. I closed my eyes. I was getting a headache. "Something wrong?" I moaned as I put my hands to my face. "I just don't know who to

trust anymore!" I was aware that it sounded kind of out-of-the-blue, but he seemed to read my thoughts. "You mean you don't know if you can trust me?" he asked, a bit hurt unless I was mistaken. "No, not that!" I amended quickly. "It's the whole GryffindorSlytherin thing! Based on the way Draco Malfoy behaves - " He interrupted me by saying, "Really, Lyra, you can't base all Slytherins on Draco Malfoy. Besides, I have my suspicions about him ... " He trailed off. I sat up abruptly and looked at him. He lowered his voice and said, "Promise me you won't tell anyone what I'm about to tell you?" He trusted me enough to tell me secrets that nobody knew. So why couldn't I trust him back? I knew, deep down, that he was really sincere about what he said. So I answered, "Yeah. You can tell me; I won't tell anyone." "Okay. Well ... I think Draco gave Katie Bell that cursed opal necklace." "What?" I exclaimed loudly. Katie Bell had been given an opal necklace that landed her in St. Mungo's during the last Hogsmeade trip, but how could Malfoy have given it to her? "I know it sounds odd, but yes! I told you he's been acting out-ofcharacter!" "But that's impossible! Katie got that necklace in the girl's bathroom! How could Malfoy give it to her there?" "Maybe he had someone else give it go her," he suggested. "He could have ... I don't know ... Imperiused a girl to give it to Katie! That way he wouldn't be suspected!" "True. It's just hard to believe someone our age could obtain such a powerfully cursed necklace and Imperius somebody." "His father is a Death Eater, remember? Which brings me to my next point: he's been acting strangely over-protective of his wrist lately. It's as if he's trying to hide something. I was wondering - do you think he could have the Dark Mark?" "The Dark Mark?" I asked in disbelief. "No ... there's no way. He's only sixteen, like us. Voldemort wouldn't let him join." "You say his name?" Nott asked. "Wow. That's unusual - "

But I interrupted him. "I know what it is," I said darkly. "What's that?" "His wrist. It happens to me too. It started two years ago, before Voldemort came back. I don't have the Mark, but I still feel it. Ever since Voldemort returned, it happens a lot. It hardly bothers me anymore, so I don't worry about it. I have a theory, though. Since both my parents have the Mark, it kind of ... got passed down to me, you know? Not the actual thing, but the pain that results when Voldemort touches it. Malfoy probably feels it too because his father has the Mark." "No," he said. "No, that's impossible." His tone indicated that he knew he was right. "My father has the Mark, and I don't feel it. You probably only feel it because both your parents have it. Otherwise, every child of a Death Eater would feel it, right? Besides, I said he was being overprotective of his wrist, not that it was giving him pain." "Oh," I said, admitting defeat. "Well, then ... all right. Maybe you're right. It's possible, I guess." "You're still not convinced?" "Not totally. But if something else weird happens - like a repeat of Katie and the locket - then I'll reconsider it." I felt a lot more comfortable now. My headache and stress were gone, and for the first time in weeks I felt relaxed and at peace. I stared out at the lake with my arms wrapped around my legs, thinking that I could probably reconsider Theodore's request. It was silent for several minutes. Finally he said, "Lyra?" "Yes?" I asked, still looking at the black water. "I think we should head back. My watch says it's half-past one. We do have class tomorrow." "You're right," I said, and though I was shocked to realize it, I actually felt disappointed about going back to Gryffindor Tower. I wanted to stay right where I was, on the lakeshore talking with him. "Well? Are you coming?" "Oh ... " I looked over and saw that he had already stood up. He offered his hand again, so I took it and let him pull me to my feet.

We began to walk back to the castle without saying anything. When we reached the castle doors, he said, "I have one more question, if you're willing to answer." "What is it?" I asked. "I know this isn't my business, but ... the first night on the lake, when you had the nightmare - what were you dreaming about? It's okay if you don't want me to know." "Oh, that. Well, I'm not exactly sure what it means. But in my dream, I was falling into a pit of darkness, and the thing is, I'd had that dream before. Only this time I kept falling, and then I hit the ground, and I was in the forest, and all these bright green snakes began to crawl all over me, and then the giant one ... started to eat me." I looked into his eyes, waiting for him to laugh. It sounded ridiculous when I said it out loud, something I'd just realized. But he didn't laugh. "Did you say bright green snakes?" "Yes. Any idea what they mean?" "No. I thought I might be able to explain it, but ... it could simply be a dream." "Well, yes ... and dreams can be weird. Only this one seemed so real. I could still feel the snakes crawling on me and - " I halted my words. I was more comfortable with him, sure, but I couldn't share every personal detail with him. "We should go inside." He pushed open the castle door; we walked across the entrance hall to the Grand Staircase. We would have to part soon, because his dormitory was in the dungeons. "Well ... I'll see you," I said. "Yes. Wait, Lyra ... about the whole going out' thing ... do you still want to end it, or do you want to see each other again?" "Oh," I said, beginning to blush. "Um - I - I'm really sorry for sort of ... changing my mind awhile back, I guess - I mean, I didn't mean to make you think I didn't want - I guess I kind of wasn't thinking ... " I honestly had no idea how to put my answer into words. He gave me that look - the one where he raised his eyebrow - and said, "Is that a yes or a no?"

Blushing fiercely, I said, "It's ... a yes. We're still on ... for Hogsmeade." I looked down, biting my lip and continuing to blush. Did I really have to make a fool of myself like that? Why, why, why? It was bad enough that I had already almost rejected him after agreeing. What kind of person did that? He seemed to forgive me, though, and understanding was in his eyes when he said, "That's great. Well then, I'll see you tomorrow in class." "Yes. See you tomorrow. You're right, it's awfully late. For now ... goodnight." That was when I was supposed to go up the stairs and he was supposed to depart for the dungeons, but before I had even placed my foot on the bottom stair, he said, "Lyra, one more thing." I turned around. "Yes?" "Tonight should be known as our official first date." He took my face in his hands. "Do you trust me now?" "Yes," I said quietly, feeling my heart pound loudly. Where this was probably going was making me more nervous than I had ever been. "I'm sorry if you thought I didn't. I was just-well, with everything changing and Voldemort - " "It doesn't matter why." And I saw it coming but was still surprised when it happened: when he moved closer and kissed me gently on the lips. After a few seconds, he pulled away and simply said, "I'll see you tomorrow." He turned and walked to the dungeons, and as soon as he was out of sight, I went up the Grand Staircase and headed toward Gryffindor Tower, feeling happier than I had in days. Maybe even weeks. End Notes: So...yeah! I'm anticipating the reviews! Back to index Chapter 36- Red and Green by Lyra Lestrange ~Chapter 36- Red and Green~ I felt like a huge burden had been lifted off my back. Actually, it was more like that burden had morphed into something else. For the first time in what seemed like forever, I wasn't angry or feeling loaded down with stress. For the first time in a long time, I was happy.

Theodore and I had been sneaking out every night. The possibility of being caught rarely crossed our minds when we spent hours out on the castle grounds. And while that tiny thought - the possibility of losing him like I had lost everyone else - nagged at my mind occasionally, I pushed it aside. I'd ruined things plenty of times before and wasn't about to let that happen again. Quidditch practice had been going well, too, and the first game of the year was approaching-Gryffindor versus Slytherin. As Katie Bell, being in St. Mungo's, was unable to play, Dean Thomas would be replacing her for the game. I was nervous but excited as I went down to breakfast on the day of the match. Shortly after, I would head to the changing rooms to get ready for the game. I didn't eat much, mostly because of nerves, thus after eating a bit of toast I headed out of the castle. When I left the Hall, I saw Theodore standing by the castle doors, waiting for me. When I approached, I said, "What are you doing here? Shouldn't you be in the stands?" "I came to wish you good luck," he said. "Oh. Well ... thanks. But don't you want Slytherin to win?" "Of course I do. But that doesn't mean I can't wish you good luck, right?" "No," I said, blushing but smiling. "Well, uh ... I should head down to the locker rooms. I'll see you after the match." "Yeah, see you. Goodbye." Our lips were about to touch, but then I heard my name. "Lyra? Are you coming to the changing rooms?" I looked over and saw Harry standing near us. Ron was right next to him, a nervous expression on his face along with something that may have been anger. "Uh ... yeah, I'm coming!" I squeaked, blushing heavily. Turning to Theodore, I said, "I'll see you later." Without looking back, I headed out the oak doors and toward the locker rooms by the Quidditch pitch. Harry and Ron walked alongside of me. Harry said, "Ginny, Demelza, Dean, and Jimmy are already down there."

"All right, good," I replied. Then, unexpectedly, Ron blurted, "Are you going out with him?" "Um ... yeah. Why?" Theodore and I had decided to keep our relationship secret from the school over the past weeks to avoid prejudice and criticism, but it became increasingly more difficult to ignore each other in class and in the halls, so we gave up on that. Bit by bit, more people had begun to stare at us in the corridors as we walked and talked together, and in class the teachers looked at us with perplexity. Neither of us cared. We were used to being judged and made each other so happy that nobody could bring us down. Ron couldn't seem to contain his anger any longer, so he yelled, "He's a Slytherin! Gryffindors can't date Slytherins! That's just common sense! How are we going to win against Slytherin today if you're going easy on them?" Puzzled stares were one thing, however. Direct attacks were an entirely different matter in my book, and I felt the need to defend myself, not to mention Theodore. So, getting fired up for the first time in weeks, I said, "I won't be going easy on them! I'm on the Gryffindor team; why would I show Slytherin mercy?" "Well, if your boyfriend's a Slytherin - " "So what? That doesn't mean anything when it comes to Quidditch!" "Ron," Harry said, "Ron, it doesn't matter - she's not going to go easy on them." "How do you know that?" Ron spat. "It's bad enough that I can't Keep! And on top of that we have a Beater who - " Before he could finish, I whipped my wand out, turned around, and pointed it at him. "If you think I'm going to go easy on them, then maybe I will!" A terrified look crossed his face, and I was positive he was thinking of the day in D.A.D.A. when I had nearly attacked Snape. He didn't say anything else, so I ran ahead to the locker rooms. The rest of the team was there when I arrived. Ginny, who was already in her Quidditch robes, noticed my sore expression and asked, "What's wrong?"

"Your brother," I mumbled. "What's his deal now?" she asked. "What did he do to you? I can hex him if necessary." "It's nothing." "Are you sure? Because I can perform a Bat-Bogey Hex and Ron knows it." "He just thinks he should be in charge of who people date, that's all," I muttered as I pulled my Quidditch robes out of a locker. Ginny rolled her eyes and groaned. "You too? He's like that with everyone. Consider yourself lucky that he's not your brother. He always thinks he's in charge of me, saying he just wants to protect me and other rubbish. If he was really that irritating, you could always hit him with a Bludger today." "No, we need a Keeper," I said with slight sarcasm. "Anyway, I'm going to change." It was my first time wearing Quidditch robes, and I knew they would be hard to get used to. The robes themselves weren't as heavy as regular school robes and were obviously designed for flying with their shorter length and tighter fit. However, though Alicia Spinnet's old Quidditch robes fit me best, even they were slightly too big. The boots and gloves were tight and uncomfortable too. It would take a game or two to adjust to the outfit. Ginny happily announced that the Slytherin Chaser Vaisey had taken a Bludger to the head and wouldn't be playing in today's match, and apparently Malfoy was out sick. A sudden mix of feelings hit me - sure, Malfoy was not a bad Seeker, therefore the game would be easier. But on the other hand, I would be pleased to no end to defeat him in Quidditch - maybe hit a Bludger to his head and give myself something to mock him with forever. Five minutes later, I was walking onto the pitch with the team. I was feeling extremely nervous as I walked through the grass carrying my Firebolt in one hand and my bat in the other, but my heart soared as soon as we entered the stadium. The Gryffindors, Hufflepuffs, and Ravenclaws cheered as the Slytherins booed. We took our positions, ready to play, as Madam Hooch stood over the crate containing the Bludgers, the Quaffle, and the Golden Snitch. Opposite us was the Slytherin team, wearing Quidditch robes of emerald green. Harry walked over and shook hands with the Slytherin Captain,

Urquhart. Madam Hooch blew her whistle and we all kicked off. I flew up on my Firebolt, soaring through the air and monitoring the Bludgers. I was fully prepared to deflect any that came near and hit them toward the Slytherins. The Bludgers were on the opposite end of the pitch when I heard the commentator's voice speak - and it wasn't Lee Jordan (who had previously commentated but had left Hogwarts last year). I recognized the voice as Zacharias Smith, the Hufflepuff who had been in the D.A. "Well, there they go, and I think we're all surprised to see the team that Potter's put together this year. Many thought, given Ronald Weasley's patchy performance as Keeper last year, that he might be off the team, but of course, a close personal friendship with the Captain does help ... " [*] The Slytherins cheered happily at this. Glaring at Smith, I thought maybe a Bludger to his head would do nicely. "Oh, and here comes Slytherin's first attempt on the goal, it's Urquhart streaking down the pitch and ... Weasley saves it. Well, he's bound to get lucky sometimes, I suppose ... " [**] Without warning a Bludger shot right at me and nearly snapped off my broom handle. I swung the bat and hit it toward a Slytherin Chaser. Before flying off, I scanned the area to see who had hit it. Peakes! He was on the team; why had he hit a Bludger at me? I zoomed over to him and yelled, "What were you doing?" "Sorry, I lost my aim!" "You idiot! You're supposed to hit it at the Slytherins!" "I know; I just missed it!" I rolled my eyes at him but quickly remembered what I was doing - a Bludger shot right toward us. Both of us swung and he hit it, though he almost knocked me in the head in the process. "Watch it!" "I'm sorry!" "You need to work on your aim!" I felt bad about yelling at him as soon as I flew off, but I was still fired up about what Ron had said before the match. I guess it was a

good thing, because my Beating skills were best when I was maddened. "It looks like the Gryffindor Beaters had a small quarrel," Zacharias said. "Of course, that's to be expected; we're dealing with Lyra Lestrange here. I think we all know who she's related to. She tends to get easily incensed - " "SHUT UP!" I didn't think he could hear me, but the crowd read my lips. The Slytherins began to laugh. As I glared at them in the stands, a Bludger sped toward me so I hit it at the nearest Slytherin player. It was one of their Chasers. The Bludger smacked him in the side and he fell to the ground. The Slytherins booed as Madam Hooch ran over to make sure he was okay. Now the Slytherin Beaters turned on me, preparing to hit a Bludger in my direction. Then I heard it - someone from the Slytherin side had stood up and yelled, "Go, Lyra!" I turned, surprised, toward the stands. Theodore! He was standing up in the ocean of green and silver; several wands were pointed at him. I smiled as Zacharias said, "What's this? A Slytherin is cheering for a Gryffindor! Has he gone mad, or is there some inter-House love going on here?" I heard several laughs and boos as my face turned red. My anger reached an even higher point so I flew toward the nearest Bludger and aimed for the Slytherin Keeper. I flew high into the air and took a moment to take in the surroundings. Gryffindor was winning by several goals. Ron was actually defending the goals well. Then the moment came. I saw Harry grab the Snitch in his hands and lift it into the air excitedly. The Gryffindors cheered and I noticed Ginny suddenly crash into the podium where Zacharias stood. She said something to Professor McGonagall happily. I swooped to the ground with the rest of the team. We all ran over and exchanged hugs and congratulated each other. "That was excellent!" Dean exclaimed. "Great game, everybody!" We all hurried off to the locker room. Smiling to myself, I pulled off my gloves as Demelza Robins said to me, "That was brilliant when you knocked that Slytherin to the ground." "Thanks," I replied cheerfully, now removing my boots.

Once I was back in my school robes, I went to the grounds. Dean had announced a party in the common room, but I wasn't really up for it. There was someone else I wanted to meet ... He was waiting for me outside the changing room. I didn't notice him, but when I heard his voice, I jumped and turned to face him, slightly red in the face but happy nonetheless. "Congratulations, Lyra. You were great," Theodore said. "Thanks," I replied. "I assume there's a party in Gryffindor Tower?" "Well, yes, but I have no interest in going." "Then shall we go walk around the lake?" "Sounds great!" I said. "Perfect." He put his arm around me and began to lead me around the pitch toward the lake. "We'll go this way so we don't get caught. People are still leaving the stands and we're really supposed to go to the castle." The grounds were growing dark as we walked along the water's edge. Stars were beginning to appear and the forest on the opposite side was now a dark obscurity. I hoped nobody could see our figures from inside the castle. Part of me wished I had gone up there first to put my Firebolt away as it was difficult to carry, but then I decided that once in Gryffindor Tower, there was no way out. As I had seen with previous post-match parties, nobody would let any of the players leave. "This is good," Theodore said after several minutes of heading in the direction of the forest. We were in a darker spot where the trees by the lake hid us well. We were quite a distance from the castle, so there was no way a teacher would spot us. "So, um ... " I began, "what was the deal with you today? Why did you stand up during the match and shout my name?" He shrugged. "I thought you needed a bit of support." "Oh," I said. "Well, thanks. But weren't you afraid of being cursed or something? All those Slytherins pointed wands at you." "Do you think I cared? Hey, I do have something to say, though.

Malfoy isn't sick. He was perfectly fine this morning. Well, he did look kind of pale, but it looked more like nerves. I know Quidditch doesn't make him nervous. I'll say this again: I know something's going on with him." "You never know with him. Actually, I kind of wanted to beat him today. Shame he wasn't here." "Speaking of which, you played really well. I mean it." I looked at the ground, feeling ashamed, and muttered, "Only because I got angry." Looking back up at him, I said, "I'm really, really trying to work on that. And I've been doing better since you and I ... " "You'll get it under control. You still played well." "Well ... thanks." I hoped he was right. Though my fiery temper was far from being doused, there was something about today that had taken it all away; something about the way I slammed the Bludgers with my bat relieved the rage that burned inside me. And then there was Theodore. Something about him - the warmth in his eyes or the gentleness in his voice - made all my resentment fade into nothing. "I have something to tell you," I said after a few moments of silence. "Go on." "Right after the war started and Sirius - well, I made a promise to myself. I told myself I would search for my family's past and learn about them. I planned on discovering what I could while at Hogwarts. I was going to check the trophy room and was wondering if you might come with me. Perhaps tomorrow night?" "Sure. It's a date. And now I have a question for you. Earlier today, what was the deal with Ron Weasley when he saw us together?" I rolled my eyes. "He doesn't think I should be dating a Slytherin." "Blood traitors!" he spat. "What did you tell him?" "I blew up at him, actually. But please ... please don't call them blood traitors. I've met the Weasleys and they're wonderful people." Understanding appeared in his eyes, but I knew he would only stop trashing blood traitors because I didn't want him to. No matter what I thought, Theodore would still think the same things about the Weasleys. It was to be expected, I assumed-he had grown up with a Death Eater for a father.

"All right, then. I won't say a word about them." "Thanks. Actually ... in the Death Eaters' books, I'm a blood traitor." I thoughtful look appeared on his face. He smiled. "Yeah, I suppose you are. And therefore, so am I." Then he leaned in kissed me, something that always put butterflies in my stomach. I supposed it wasn't necessarily the actual gesture that got to me, but the feeling of knowing someone was there, someone who actually wanted me and saw me as more than the Lestrange girl.' I hardly cared how the rest of the world viewed me anymore: previously an invisible wall, a raging monster that couldn't control herself, or the daughter of Lord Voldemort's most faithful followers, because really, why did it matter? I wasn't alone anymore. Therefore, feeling more at ease each time it happened, I kissed him back. I wanted him to know someone was there for him as well. Once we were apart I stared at the stars reflecting in the lake, realizing how truly beautiful the night was. End Notes: [*] Quote taken from the American Version of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, page 295 [**] page 296 Back to index Chapter 37- The Trophy Room by Lyra Lestrange ~Chapter 37- The Trophy Room~ I stood outside the trophy room on the third floor, waiting for Theodore. It was late at night and I was under a Disillusionment Charm. It would have been a lot easier if I owned an Invisibility Cloak. Minutes passed. Without any warning I felt someone grab me from behind. I screamed without thinking. "Shhhh!" He was standing in front of me now, nearly laughing. I crossed my arms and glared at him for nearly giving us away. "You're probably giving me a look," he teased, "but I can't exactly see your face when you're under that charm." "Yes," I hissed. "How did you find me? And why didn't you Disillusion

yourself?" "There's no need," he said plainly. "Anyway, we should go inside. I'm sure it's locked, but it shouldn't be hard to get in." "Well, if it is locked, we probably can't get in," I said logically, my heart sinking. It would have been easier to tackle this mission during the day when everyone had access to the trophy room. Why had I chosen to go in at night? "Filch has probably put a bunch on anti-intruder spells on it or something." He laughed and took his wand out, pointing it at the doorknob. "Didn't you know Filch was a Squib?" "Oh ... right." "Alohomora." I heard a lock click. Theodore turned the doorknob and entered the dark trophy room. I Disillusioned myself before illuminating my wand. He lit his as well. Immediately the room lit up, sparkling with several brilliant gold, silver, and bronze trophies, shields, medals, and suits of armor. "So, what are we looking for?" he asked. "Anything with a Black family name on it," I answered. "I'm just looking for clues ... ideas ... you know. I'll go this way; you check that end." "Right." I started at a shelf of shields. Pointing my wand at each one, I read the names. Some were familiar, some weren't, but none interested me. I went up to the next shelf just as Theodore said, "Here's a Black!" "What?" I rushed over to see. "Who is it?" "Callidora Black. Is that someone you're looking for?" "Callidora? It sounds ... kind of familiar. But no, that one doesn't help." "Then how about this one?" He pointed his wand to a medal on the same shelf as Callidora Black's. "How about ... Cedrella Black?" "No. I think I have seen those names on the family tree. But look at the year on those medals. I'm looking for more recent dates."

"I'll keep searching," Theodore said. I turned around and went back to my area. There were still several unfamiliar names. Finally I spotted a Black - Arcturus Black - and my heart skipped a beat. I studied the medal, trying to figure out why he'd received the award, when I realized that it dated back to ... well, a long time ago. Upon further inspection, I saw that all of these shields were outdated. "Ugh. I'm in the wrong area," I muttered. "Oh, hey!" Theodore exclaimed. "I found another one and it's more recent ... how about Regulus Black?" I nearly dropped my wand. "But that's Sirius's brother! What's it for?" "Quidditch," he said. "Oh. I see. All of these are for Quidditch." I sighed again. "Yeah, I don't think Quidditch is really going to help. I guess if I knew what I was looking for, then ... " I trailed off, because Theodore said, "Lyra, come here." I was shocked by the dark tone in his voice. I hurried over to where he stood, pointing his wand at several medals. I gasped when I saw the name on the one illuminated by his wandlight. "What's it for?" I asked. "Look here." He pointed his wand at a silver plate on the shelf, stating that the medals represented students who were top in the year. There were seven of them - the years ranging from 1962 to 1969, each belonging to Bellatrix Black. "She was top in the year," I whispered, half to myself. "I can't believe it! She was like ... Hermione Granger! How could someone like that become so evil?" "She was talented," Theodore suggested. "You knew that. She used her talents in an evil way." I shook my head. It wasn't odd, just unexpected. I continued to stare at the medals, lost in thought, until Theodore said sharply and quietly, "Someone's coming." "What?" I nearly dropped my wand again. "I hear someone outside! Quick - get behind that suit of armor!"

I dashed to the nearest silver footman and ducked behind it. Theodore followed me. At the same time we whispered, "Nox" and our wands went out. We sat in stillness for several seconds. Then I heard a creaking noise as the door to the trophy room opened. "We forgot to relock the door," I breathed. "Don't say anything. We need to find out who it is." I watched the floor, waiting for feet to appear and footsteps to sound, but there weren't any. Instead, a loud cacophony of sounds broke out as Peeves the Poltergeist, floating at the ceiling, began to sing - or wail - at the top of his lungs. "Peevsie hears voices, oh who can it be? Peevsie goes into the trophy room, wheeeeee!" He zoomed in our direction, threatening to knock into our suit of armor. Instead he hit the wall and bounced in the opposite direction. With a crash, several shields fell off the shelves and cascaded onto the ground. "Peevsie goes flying and bouncing around! Oops, Peevsie has knocked all the shield awards down! Peevsie should get out before the one comes! The one who hangs kiddies up by their thumbs! Oh no, Filchie's kitty cat is in the hall! Peevsie should leave before Filch hears her call!" He soared out of the room, cackling quietly. "Oh, no ... Mrs. Norris!" I whispered so quietly I barely heard myself. "We have to get out! Maybe we can escape Peeves, but she'll call Filch, and if he finds us - " "We can't leave yet! Mrs. Norris is right there!" Sure enough, Filch's tabby cat was standing in the doorway, searching the room. Her eyes stopped on the armor we were behind but she moved on to the other side. She sniffed the fallen trophies for a second before letting out a huge, loud meow. "We could curse her and leave before Filch gets here," I suggested. "No ... then he'll know it was someone other than Peeves." "But we need to get out before - " Too late, Filch was in the room. Mrs. Norris meowed and walked over to him. She brushed up against him and led him to the shields

that were spread across the floor. Filch stared at the scene angrily for a second before he roared, "PEEVES!" At that moment, I realized my leg was asleep. I was sitting in an awkward position and needed to get out of it. I moved as slowly as possible, trying to make only a tiny amount of movement, but Filch saw my shadow move out of the corner of his eye. He turned around sharply, focused on the suit of armor. Mrs. Norris meowed and headed over to us. I held my breath, waiting for it to happen. Filch was going to find us and we would be caught. As she turned the corner, she saw us huddled together, trying to hide. Her fur bristled and she spat angrily, calling Filch over. "Found somebody, my sweet?" Filch asked. Mrs. Norris meowed in reply, but at that moment another noise pierced the stillness: "Wheeeeee!" Peeves was outside the doorway, singing again. Filch roared his name and rushed out; Mrs. Norris followed. From the noise outside, I could tell Filch was chasing Peeves. Slowly I crawled out from behind the armor and peered outside the doorway. Peeves was above Filch, blowing a raspberry at him. They were far enough away that we could sneak into the empty classroom around the corner. I motioned for Theodore to follow me. He crept out quietly and we quickly hurried to the classroom. In just a few seconds I'd unlocked the door, ran inside, closed it, and locked it again. "Made it," I whispered to Theodore, who had come in right behind me. Kneeling down in front of the door, I peered into the keyhole. I saw Filch chasing Peeves down the stairs to the floor below. "Filch is gone," I said. I turned to him, still on the floor, and said, "I'm sorry. I'm really, really sorry. I didn't mean for us to nearly get caught like that. It would have been better to go during the day. It was a stupid idea. We hardly discovered anything." "But now you know your mother was top in her year all through her Hogwarts life." "Yes. I guess." I stood up and leaned against the door. Tonight hadn't answered anything; it had only brought about more questions. Theodore seemed to realize this as he said, "Come on. We should go back to our dormitories."

"But what if Filch is still out?" "He'll be below you. You can get to Gryffindor Tower easily." "But you're going to the dungeons. He might see you on the way down. What if you get caught?" "So what if I do?" "It'll be my fault." "Stop. I went with you so I'm at fault just as much. Honestly, I don't care if I get caught. It won't be the first time I've served detention, so don't worry about me." "Okay," I said. "But if you do get caught, you can blame it on me." "I told you to stop," he said as he opened the trophy room door. "It's late." "Yeah. I guess." "I'll see you tomorrow," he said before kissing me goodnight. "Bye, Lyra." "Bye." I turned around and headed for the stairs. Obviously the trophy room wasn't going to give me what I wanted. If I wanted answers, facts, or the truth, I was going to have to search elsewhere. However, there was only one place I could think of, and going there would be far more risky than sneaking into the trophy room at night. End Notes: The Black family members are not made up; they are on the Black family tree, which may be on JKR's site. If not, it's at least on Wikipedia and some other sites if you're interested in checking it out. And my sister helped me write Peeves' song. Also, if you're wondering how Lyra and Theodore get away with sneaking around at night so much, here's my thinking: Hogwarts is huge, therefore even if Filch and Mrs. Norris patrol all night (which I doubt they do every night--they need sleep!), students could get around the castle without being seen. Teachers and Prefects also need sleep. It just doesn't seem feasible to me for the castle to be

under watch every night, because making sure students stay in bed...I don't know, it just doesn't seem like the staff would go out of their way every night to make sure that didn't happen. It's just an idea and a way to justify how they (and other students) get away with slipping out of their dormitories almost every night. Back to index Chapter 38- The Tale of the Three Sisters by Lyra Lestrange Author's Notes: Being home sick means I can update! Obviously the title is an allusion to 'The Tale of the Three Brothers.' I think this chapter is the longest in the fic. Enjoy! ~Chapter 38- The Tale of the Three Sisters~ I stood at Hogsmeade station, ready to leave for Christmas break. The weather was awful - freezing rain, wind, and cold, but I wasn't getting on the train yet; I was waiting for Theodore. I saw him approaching, carrying a single trunk. When he was next to me, I said, "What took so long? I want to get on the train; it's freezing!" "Then let's get on." I noticed he sounded kind of glum, but I didn't say anything until we were on the train in a compartment at the back. After we put our luggage on the racks, I sat down and said, "Is something wrong?" He sighed. "No ... not really." "Are you sure?" "Well, I'd rather not go home for break. I really wanted to stay at Hogwarts, but my dad forced me to come home." "Oh. I get it. You don't want to go home because your father will - " " - Want to discuss Death Eater business with me, yeah," he finished. "I'm sorry." He shrugged. "It's not much of a Christmas. We don't celebrate anything, ever. It's always about the Dark Lord." "So ... you call him the Dark Lord?" I asked cautiously. "Oh. Yeah, but I don't really think about it. It's what my father says, so it's what I say. What do you call him?"

"I used to call him the Dark Lord, but I was told not to. But then Sirius - " I broke off for a second; thinking of Sirius was always painful. "Sirius told me just to call him Voldemort." He nodded, looking thoughtful, just as the witch with the food trolley came. "Anything from the trolley?" she asked. "Yes," I said standing up and reaching into my robe pocket for money, but Theodore stood up and said, "I'll buy it." "No, it's fine. I'll buy it." "I'll buy, we'll share." I shrugged. By the time the trolley witch left, we were stocked up on Licorice Wands, Cauldron Cakes, Chocolate Frogs, Pumpkin Pasties, and Every Flavor Beans. As I ripped open a frog, Theodore said, "Are you doing anything over break?" "Not much besides regular family celebrations." But that was a lie. Since I was just talking to him, I decided I could be honest. I quickly checked to make sure no one was listening before I told him quietly, "There is somewhere I've wanted to go in order to - " Our compartment door slid open and Malfoy, Crabbe, and Goyle came in. Malfoy looked smug as he turned to Nott and said, "Listen, I need to talk to you. When you get home, ask your father if - " But he stopped as Goyle tapped him on the shoulder and pointed at me. Malfoy turned, surprised, and was dumbfounded to see me sitting there. He glared at me and snapped, "What are you doing in here, Tonks? Trying to spy on Nott? Don't you know you need an Invisibility Cloak like Potter in order to spy without being seen?" Crabbe and Goyle laughed, but Theodore said, "Malfoy, leave her alone. And whatever you want me to ask my father, I won't ... unless you tell me what you're up to." "Up to? I'm not up to anything." "Don't lie. You're always sneaking out of the common room with that look of false determination on your face, Draco. So whatever the deal is, tell me, or my father won't ever get your message." "Sneaking out? You've been sneaking out, Nott. Nearly every night you return to the dormitory when it's far past midnight. What are

you doing, seeing someone?" Theodore turned slightly red, causing Malfoy to turn to me. A look of shocked understanding crossed his face as his head swung back and forth between the two of us. "You're not ... the two of you ... " "Way to go, Malfoy; you get an 'O' for your wonderful observation skills. Now leave our compartment," I said. Malfoy turned to Theodore, raging. "There's no way, you blood traitor! She's a Gryffindor!" "I'm quite aware of that, Draco," Theodore said coolly. "Now, if you hadn't been sneaking out so much you would have known. But you can leave. If this message for my father is urgent, you can send him an owl." Malfoy was so furious that he simply glared at us and left the compartment, slamming the door behind him. I noticed Crabbe sneaking out furtively, concealing something under his robes. He had stolen our Cauldron Cakes. I rolled my eyes and was about to point this out to Theodore, but I stayed quiet when I saw how cross he was as he muttered curses under his breath about Malfoy. "Is it really that big of a deal?" I asked carefully. "Yes!" he exclaimed. "He's doing something he shouldn't be and he wants me to deliver a message to my father! He won't tell me what's going on! I hate this; it's always like this! This is what it's like to live your life among the Dark Side - everyone keeps secrets from you. Then all of a sudden some catastrophe happens and you had no idea it was coming!" Though I was stupefied by his words, I said, "And you think Malfoy ... is going to cause a ... er, catastrophe?" "I don't know," he answered, smacking his hand against the compartment seat. "I just...don't know." There was nothing else I could say, so I sat in silence and nibbled on a Licorice Wand as he calmed down. Once he got to this point, things went a lot smoother. We were able to talk normally until we got to Kings Cross. The weather was still nasty when I stood up and retrieved my trunk

from the luggage rack. Theodore swished his wand to dispose of our sweet wrappers. Turning to me, he said, "Well ... I'll see you after break." "Yeah, I'll see you in ... two weeks or so." "I'll miss you," he said, giving me a sad smile. "I'll miss you too. Good luck ... you know, with your father and all." I brought myself closer and kissed him; he returned it with a bit more enthusiasm than was expecting, and I could fully feel how much he was going to miss this time apart, how much he was dreading having to return home and visit his father. Once apart, we said goodbye again and left the compartment. He went out the first door we approached but I kept going, partially because I wanted to stay out of the bad weather for as long as possible, and partially because I didn't want Dora to see me with him. I hadn't exactly told her about him yet. I went out the compartment door when I saw Dora through the raincovered window. She still had that limp brown hair. She greeted me as happily as she could, but it wasn't much. I could tell she was ready to get out of the bad weather. "So ... how are we getting home?" I asked, shivering in the cold. "Side-Along Apparition," she muttered, latching her arm to mine. "Hold on ... " I wasn't prepared for this. I had never Apparated before as had been hoping for more of a warning, but before I knew it, I felt myself being smashed into what felt like endless darkness. My lungs felt constricted and I couldn't breathe. Not soon enough, we hit the ground in front of the house. "That was awful, Dora!" I exclaimed. "I wasn't ready for that!" "I'm sorry," she said blankly and unsympathetically as she turned the doorknob to enter the house. Inside, we hung up our coats as Ted and Andromeda greeted me. "Lyra!" Andromeda exclaimed, hurrying out from the kitchen as usual. "Great to have you home. Your presents are in your room like always." "Thank you. It's nice to see you, too," I told her as she pulled me into her motherly hug. Then, turning to Dora, I said, "Hey, are you staying here or are you leaving?"

"I'm leaving for a bit, then I'll be back. But first I want to give you your gift. It's in my old bedroom. Go upstairs; I'll bring it to you." I went to my bedroom. It was the same as always: light blue paint, Gryffindor banners. On top of everything was a thin layer of dust, which vanished with the wave of my wand. I moved my presents out of the way and flopped on my bed, tearing into them. There were the usual white chocolate truffles from Andromeda-she always made my personal favorite-and another sweater from Mrs. Weasley, just like last year. With a pang I realized that Sirius wouldn't be giving me a gift this year. I thought of last Christmas when things had been different. Sirius had been alive and I had still been under my false name. It seemed like a universe away now. Dora entered my room, looking glum as always, but on top of that there was another emotion - smugness, maybe? She handed me my gift, but it wasn't just any gift box, it was a cardboard box with holes cut into it. She had tied a pink bow to the top. "What's this?" I asked. "Your present from me. Open it." I tugged at the bow until it came lose. Then I opened the box, not sure of what I would find. Inside was what looked like a giant pink cotton ball. I reached to take it out, but pulled my hand back when the cotton thing moved. "What is it?" "A Pygmy Puff. I bought it at Weasley's Wizard Wheezes, the Weasley twins' joke shop in Diagon Alley. I thought you might like a pet since you've never had one." "Oh. Well, thanks!" I gently lifted the Pygmy Puff from the box and asked, "Does it have a name?" "No. You get to name it." "I like it. Thanks, Dora." I gave her a hug and gently set my new pet down on my bed. I stroked its soft back, thinking I liked the name Drooble (after Drooble's Best Blowing Gum) when Dora said, "Wait, there's more." "What?" I asked, looking away from the Pygmy Puff and at her face again. That smug look had returned. "Just a few minutes ago, this arrived at the front door by owl. It's

addressed to you. Any idea what it could be?" She showed me a box with two small bows tied to it, red and green. It had my name on it, and below the address it said 'from Theodore.' "Who's Theodore?" Dora asked, raising an eyebrow. I felt myself going red. "He's no one! I'll just take that if you don't mind!" I reached for the present, but she pulled it away and said, "Does Lyra finally have a boyfriend?" "No! Now Dora, give me the box!" She took my answer as a yes and, still keeping the box away from my grasp, said, "Tell me about him." "Shut up! Why does it matter to you? Just give me my present and leave me alone, Dora! Whoever Theodore is, well ... that's my business, so give that to me and you can be on your way back to your flat." "I've got time," she said plainly. "I'm in no hurry. So tell me, Lyra. Who is he? How did you meet him?" "He's just a friend," I insisted. "I've never seen you turn so red over a friend." "Well, he's not my boyfriend." "Then who is he? He's obviously someone important to you." I knew I had to give in. With anyone else, I could probably get them off my back. But not Dora. There was no way she would leave until I told her everything she wanted to know. Besides, the smile on her face - something I hadn't seen for awhile - made me continue. For once, she seemed like her old self. I sighed and said, "Okay. Theodore and I ... well, we used to hate each other ... " "Yeah? What else? How long have you been going out with him?" "Er ... since October." "So what year is he in? What house? What does he look like? How does - "

"Dora, slow down! He's in my year and he's ... he's ... " I stopped, now fumbling with the packaging on the box. Underneath the wrapping was a small card. I opened it, forgetting to answer Dora's question. Beside me she sat, waiting eagerly yet patiently, curious about what was in the box. A note was written in the card. Lyra, Here's your gift. Hope you like it. I thought it kind of represented us. You'll see what I mean when you open it, if you haven't done so yet. Have a good break. Merry Christmas. Theodore Tucking the note inside the box, I dug deeper and found another box - a tiny white one. I opened it with care, still keeping it inside the larger box. I wasn't sure if I wanted Dora to see the gift yet. I took off the lid and gasped. It was a necklace - a silver chain with a crystal - clear gem at the end. But when I lifted it out of the little box, I saw it flicker with tints of red and green. "Oh, I get it," I said. "Red and green." "What's that?" Dora asked. Possibly because I was merely talking with Dora, my almost-sister, or possibly because the sparkly necklace and my gratitude that Theodore had gone through the trouble to get it for me had me mesmerized, I said, "Well ... the thing is ... he's a Slytherin." She didn't speak at first. When she did, she asked, "You're dating a Slytherin?" "Well ... yeah." "Hmmm." She shrugged. "What's his last name?" I froze. Dora, being in the Order, would know all about his father-or would at least be able to recognize the name of a known Death Eater. "Nott," I said. "His name is Theodore Nott." Sure enough, she squinted at me and said, "Nott, huh? Did you know there's a Death Eater named Nott?"

"Yes," I said, standing up quickly so that the necklace left the box and dangled from my hand, flashing red and green. "And I don't care, Dora. You don't know him like I do; nobody does. He's a child of the Dark Side just like me, only he's worse off because he lives with a Death Eater. But I don't you need to tell me his father's a Death Eater, because I already know. If you bother me about it, I'll remind you that your mother's sister is a Death Eater." "I wasn't going to say a word," she said calmly. "That's pretty," she added, changing the subject. She was pointing at the necklace. "Oh. Yeah," I said. "It's clear but it shines red and green ... here, help me put it on." I pulled my hair back as Dora fastened the necklace around my neck. She said, "You know, this looks real. It was probably very expensive." "I hope not," I said. "I didn't want him to spend a fortune on me." "You're lucky," she said with a sigh. "He must really care about you." I wasn't sure how to respond to that, but I knew what she was thinking. I really didn't want to bring the topic up again, but I had to ask. "No luck with Remus, I take it?" She sat down on my bed, looking glum again. "No. I think I'll have to give up." I felt really bad for Dora. Normally she was the one constantly out on dates, not me. It seemed we had switched places for the first time ever. Then again, it wasn't like anything was normal these days.

Dora left later that evening but planned on returning for Christmas day. So now I sat in a chair in the living room, staring at the fire and thinking of what I was going to do next. Andromeda sat quietly, reading a book. Finally I broke the silence, about to tell her about my plan. My mouth was dry, but I managed to say, "Andromeda, there's something I want to do." She looked up from her book dreamily and asked, "What's that?" "Well, you see ... I want answers. I want to know more about

Bellatrix. You've told me a lot, but it's not enough. I want to know why she joined the Death Eaters and what happened after you were disowned. I'm sorry if I'm insulting you ... " "No, no, you're fine. But what are you going to do to get this?" "I ... I want to go to Narcissa's." She was immobilized for a few second, looking like a statue. When she spoke, it was to say, "I - I really don't think that's a good idea, Lyra. It may sound easy, but going to the Malfoy Manor is risky. I hate to say this, but Narcissa won't want to see you and she would be less than happy to tell you stories." "I'm aware of that. But I've been thinking about this a lot lately and I really want to find out what I can. I've thought of a few ways that I could make this work ... " "But why, Lyra? Why? What will finding out these things solve? Is it for your own personal gain? How will it help you?" "It's not ... for personal gain or anything ... well, I suppose it is, in a way ... I just want to know ... because of everything ... Sirius ... and you ... and even me. I guess that's what it's about. I want to know who she is so I will know who I am. "But Lyra ... don't you know who you are?" "In ways, yes, but in other ways, well ... it's just not fair! I want more than just to know, I want to understand ... or try to, at least. I want to know who she is and who my father is and why things happened because ... well, because they're my parents! Doesn't every child have the right to know them?" "This is about Sirius again, isn't it?" Andromeda asked softly. "Partially," I said tearfully, but I wasn't going to cry this time. "I want to know why she killed him." "She went insane, Lyra. That's all there is to know. You-Know-Who brainwashed her into everything she is now." "But I want to know why!" "Okay. All right. I guess I understand you to an extent. If you think you can do it, you can go to the Malfoy Manor. But please, please be careful." "I will, Andromeda. I promise."

Right after I had made up my mind, I knew it was insane. I walked up to the iron gates of the Malfoy Manor, knowing that this was by far the most far-fetched idea ever. I felt like I was doing a Death Eater deed in my hooded cloak with my wand ready, and I was about to turn back when I saw someone approaching the gates. As the figure came closer, I saw that it was Draco. He looked nervous - maybe even frightened - as he approached me in my hood. Did he think I was a Death Eater? "Who is it?" Malfoy asked with forced calm. I had my response ready. I pulled out my wand and, pointing it at him, said, "Take me to your mother, Draco, or be prepared to be cursed." His eyes widened. "Tonks?" "If you call me that one more time, I swear I'll - " "What do you want to see my mother for?" "That's none of your business. Just take me to her, all right? If you don't, I think you know what I can do." "If you're talking about that curse of yours, go ahead - I'm sure there are plenty of cells in Azkaban for you - " "I'm warning you!" I said sharply, but my confidence was ebbing by the second. He looked pleased at that moment, as if he was looking forward to seeing how Narcissa would take this. "Follow me," he said. I followed, mainly because I couldn't turn back now. He led me inside the giant house, down the hall, and into a large living room that was far more welcoming than I was expecting. It was much like the Gryffindor common room, except the chairs and couches were a creamy brown color. There was a bright fireplace on one side of the room and in one of the chairs sat Narcissa. She looked up; her eyes widened in bewilderment. "Draco, who's this?" "Take off your hood," Draco snapped at me. Reluctantly I pulled it back, deciding that there was no longer a reason to hide. Narcissa's

eyes grew even wider. "Lyra?" "Um ... yeah. I came here to - " "How did you get here?" she was suddenly outraged. She narrowed her eyes at me and stood up with her hands on her hips. "You have no business here." "Yes, actually - " "This house belongs to my family and I will send you away personally!" "Well, I'm family!" I exclaimed, bringing my wand up. "Put that away or you'll wish you had gone through the veil with Sirius too! Unless you can explain to me a good reason for coming here, you would be better off leaving!" "DON'T TALK ABOUT SIRIUS!" I ran at her, my anger reaching a climax. One more word and she would be Cruciated. I pointed my wand at her, not bothering to try to control myself this time. She let out a laugh, but I could tell she was nervous. Up close, I noticed how different she looked from both her sisters. She was paler, smaller, and more frail-looking. Her blonde hair and pale blue eyes contrasted greatly with Bellatrix's dark features. Still, she had traits of the Black family which seemed more prominent when I noticed that underneath everything was a trace of something else insanity, maybe? It appeared that she had been through trauma of some sort. Not surprising considering the people in her life. I glared up at her and said, "I came here for a reason. Throw me out if you will, but I'll put up a fight. I'm willing to discuss this calmly if you are." With a frail hand, she lowered my wand, said, "Draco, why don't you leave? Apparently I have some things to discuss with my niece," and motioned for me to sit down. Draco, looking stunned, turned around to leave, but only after giving me the most venomous look of hatred he could. Once the door closed, she sat down and, wearily and impatiently, said, "What do you want?"

"I want you to tell me a story." She laughed, this time without a hint of nervousness. There was more madness in it this time. "A story? What do you want a story for?" I sighed. "Let me rephrase myself. I want you to tell me what Andromeda can't - about Bellatrix." She squinted at me again. "And why would you care?" "Why would I care? Why would I care? I care because she's my mother and I want to know! I've already been through this, so please - just listen to me! Imagine if it had been you who got locked up and Draco was raised by - by Bellatrix, or some other family member! Do you think he would want to know who his parents were?" "Don't you dare bring Draco into this!" "I won't if you tell me what I want!" "Fine! Fine! What is it you want me to tell?" "Everything. I want to know about Bellatrix - how it was for you, growing up with her, how and why she joined the Death Eaters, and anything else. Andromeda can't tell me anything that happened after she was disowned - " "Like she deserved." " - but I knew you could." "Fine then. But make this quick. If the Dark Lord ever finds out about this ... well, what do you want me to tell you?" "Let's start at the beginning - your childhoods. Just tell me what you can." "Right. Well ... Lyra, did you ever hear the stories from The Tales of Beedle the Bard when you were younger?" Her tone, surprisingly, had become gentler. The bright look in her blue eyes indicated that she was reminiscing on the past already; maybe she was going to enjoy this more than she meant to. "Yes. But it's been a really long - " "So I take it that you're familiar with The Tale of the Three Brothers?"

"Yes. That was ... always my favorite," I admitted, thinking about the bedtime stories Ted, Andromeda, and even Dora used to read to me. "Well, our father used to read those to us all the time. He often compared Bella and I - and, well ... Andromeda to the brothers in the tale. He often retold it as three sisters instead of brothers, and made it so the three of us were the characters. "Bella was the oldest and was therefore compared to the oldest brother. In the story, as you know, the oldest brother gets the Elder Wand. Bella loved the thought of that. The idea of power, which an unbeatable wand could obviously give someone, was exactly what she dreamed of. Can you see where this is going?" "Well ... " I began, "I guess ... joining the Death Eaters could give her power." "Exactly. As far as the other one - you know who I mean Andromeda ... well, she was the middle. In the story, the second brother was the arrogant one. Andromeda was by far the arrogant family member. But she always had this fear that she would lose everyone she loved - which is why she preferred the brother who received the Resurrection Stone." "It makes perfect sense!" I exclaimed. "So by arrogant you mean she betrayed the family? Which means she did lose everyone she loved - but not to death." "Yes. Daddy always knew she would be trouble. He tried to fix her up with the Rosier boy for marriage before she could run off with someone else. He failed, of course." "Evan Rosier? Bellatrix's friend?" "Yes. Andromeda refused because, well ... our mother's maiden name was Rosier and she figured she was related to him." "Or maybe she just loved Ted," I stated flatly. "I bet that didn't matter to your parents, did it?" "Not at all," Narcissa said. "They didn't care; most pureblood families are inbred anyway." "Like the Blacks," I said. "But anyway ... that left the third brother to you." "Yes. I was the third brother - or sister - the one who got the

Invisibility Cloak. I never really related to this brother, but since I was the youngest and he was the last one left, I was always thought of as him. I liked the thought of the Invisibility Cloak, though, mainly because it was supposed to be beautiful." "So the three of you were like the brothers in the story. What does that have to do with anything?" I asked. "It has to do with everything, and I'll tell you why. First, do you remember ever playing games when you were younger-you know, the type of games where you pretend to be a certain character?" "No," I said. "Dora and I never played anything like that together. She's seven years older than me, so she was already at Hogwarts when - " She waved her hand impatiently. "That doesn't matter. My point is, the three of us played these games a lot, and mostly we pretended to be the three brothers, only female. We were playing this one day in the garden when our dad came out. He saw Bella, pretending that a stick was the Elder Wand, casting fake curses everywhere. She pretended to cast a Killing Curse on me, but only because Andromeda wanted her to. Andromeda was weird about that-she always wanted people to die in the games. Bella thought it was her way of overcoming her fear of losing loved ones. Anyway, our father saw and accused Andromeda of wanting to kill me. That's when he said she would be trouble later on - he thought she didn't care about the family." "But that's stupid!" I exclaimed. "It's not true! Andromeda had the right idea - " Narcissa waved her hand again and went on. "Then he praised Bella because of her wand work.' She was his favorite daughter and he said someday she would make him proud. This was before she began Hogwarts, but even then he could tell she would grow up to be talented. Did you know she was top in her year?" "Yes," I said. "I went to the trophy room." I thoughtful look appeared on Narcissa's face. "This means a lot to you, doesn't it, Lyra?" "Yes," I said quietly. "So, um ... thanks for telling me." "Well, I guess I ... um, you're welcome. But there was something else you wanted to know, wasn't there? About why Bella joined the Death Eaters?"

"Yeah." "It was partially because of our parents. They wanted it more than anything else, and she wanted to make them proud, especially since she knew Andromeda wouldn't. Another reason was Rodolphus. She was - though it may not seem like it - deeply in love with him. He was fixed on joining the Death Eaters, and she knew that joining was the only way to stay with him. To our parents, it was like killing two birds with one stone. She was joining and marrying a pureblood." "I guess I get it. But then ... you said she was in love with Rodolphus, but it doesn't seem like it. Does that mean she ... doesn't love him anymore?" A sad look appeared on her face. She said, "Well, I wouldn't exactly say that. But I think she treats him more like a friend or companion now. Azkaban changed her in many ways. When she escaped, all she cared about was the Dark Lord. I think she ... I think ... " She struggled with her words before saying, "I think she's in love with him now." I felt sick to my stomach right then. Bellatrix was in love with Voldemort? "But he ... Vold - the Dark Lord ... can he even love?" I inquired. "Well, I highly doubt it. But it's not exactly him she loves ... it's his ways. She loves serving him so much that she's come to love the man she serves. She sees him - the Dark Lord himself - as a physical representation of our ways, or at least that's what I predict. I don't get it." "N - neither do I." I stared at the floor for a few moments, but eventually I said, "I should leave now. This - this went differently than I had expected. Thanks for sharing everything." "Y - you're welcome. I guess." I nodded to her without any more words and left. That had definitely not been what I thought I would hear. I still felt sick thinking about Narcissa's words. All had gone well until that last bit, which probably made all the difference. How could Bellatrix Lestrange, my mother, possibly be in love with the most evil man ever to walk the earth?

Back to index Chapter 39- Boggart Battle by Lyra Lestrange ~Chapter 39- Boggart Battle~ Upon returning to Hogwarts from the holiday break, I felt listless, not to mention more reserved an isolated than usual. I was still getting over the overwhelming shock of Narcissa's news. The day we came back, Theodore greeted me with more enthusiasm than I greeted him with. We found a compartment on the train and prepared to head back to Hogwarts. "Lyra!" he said once we were settled into our seats. "You won't believe what I found!" "What - what did you find?" I asked. My voice was dull. "Something that might interest you. But first, is something wrong? You look upset." "Well, it's just ... I went to the Malfoy Manor and ..." I told him about my conversation with Narcissa. When I finished, I said, "What do you have to show me?" "This. I snooped around my dad's files a bit and found this with a bunch of other old newspapers." He handed me an old copy of the Daily Prophet. It was faded and torn, but the words were still legible. "I thought it might help you with your ... search, or whatever you're calling it." Curious, I unfolded the paper. The date at the top went back to fifteen years previously. On the front page in huge letters was the headline:

FOUR MORE BEHIND BARS Death Eaters Imprisoned for Torture of Aurors

"You found this?" I exclaimed, half in disbelief, half in spontaneous pleasure. "I can't believe it!" "Go ahead and read it. It will probably answer some of your questions." "But this here ... this will give me the whole story! It will tell me all about the arrest and everything ... " Unfolding the paper better so I could see the whole article, I read:

Yesterday Aurors captured four Death Eaters for torturing Aurors Frank and Alice Longbottom at their manor in London after wizards in nearby households reported hearing spell violence. The Death Eaters, now in Azkaban, are Barty Crouch, Jr., Bellatrix Lestrange, Rodolphus Lestrange, and Rabastan Lestrange. "We did what was necessary. Everything was for the Dark Lord," Crouch said. The Longbottoms appeared to have something the Death Eaters wanted. They targeted the Aurors and used the Cruciatus Curse on them to get answers, but the Longbottoms wouldn't give anything away. "My son and his wife have always been fighters, and I knew they would fight until the very end if it came to it," Augusta Longbottom, mother of Frank Longbottom, said. The Longbottoms are now at St. Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries. It appears they will not recover from such intense torture. "Curses such as these have no cure. Wizards have tried to find one for centuries, but Dark Magic is among the most powerful forces in the world. There may never be a way to reverse it with magical medicine," St. Mungo's Healer Victoria Heming said.

I put the paper down before finishing the article and said, "This tells what I already know. I guess there wasn't anything else to it." "Have you finished the whole thing? Red the rest," Theodore said gently. "There's a bit more at the end. It might interest you." So I read on:

Upon arrival at Azkaban prison, Bellatrix Lestrange claimed she couldn't go to prison because she had to care for her daughter, Lyra.' Aurors diagnosed her as hysterical but will proceed to check Ministry records in search of truth. If the Lestranges' have a daughter, living arrangements will be made.

I folded the paper up and stared at the ground. Of course - it was like I had never been born. This article had shown me nothing but what I already knew. "It's not like that anymore, though," Theodore said. "Everyone knows you exist." "But it took them fifteen stupid years to realize it. You know what? I'm tired of this. Every time I find out something new, it leads to more questions. Now I want to know how the Ministry set my life upor ruined it, more like. Why can't things be simple?" "Because the world isn't simple," he said. "And it's as simple as that."

That night, I had a dream. First I saw the three Black sisters in that photo Andromeda had. Then Andromeda was wiped from the picture and it was just Narcissa and Bellatrix, but they were older and were discussing something. Then everything went black and Bellatrix was thrown into a prison cell, screaming. She was yelling something unintelligible, but then I saw Narcissa and she seemed to understand the words. She shook her head and faded away, and I saw a tiny infant crying in a crib, alone ... I wanted to see Narcissa again, because there were more things I wanted to know.

"I told you I didn't want to talk about this again." "I just thought I could give you some advice on how to improve for next time." "I gave up. I can't do it." I threw down my wand in frustration; it clattered on the dungeon floor and rolled away. "You essentially just have to remember the three D's. That's all there is to it - " "I told you, it won't work! I've already Splinched myself seven times and it was painful! Isn't that enough?"

Theodore's arms wrapped around my waist as he said, "Fine, then; wait until the next practice. Here's your wand." "You see this? Right here I Splinched my finger, and now I can't bend it." I motioned to my index finger on my right hand. "It's making wand work as difficult as ever. And this here - this is where I nearly severed my foot from my leg. Oh, and don't forget the giant burn on my arm - that's not from Splinching, but when the charm I was casting went wrong because I couldn't hold my wand correctly due to Splinching!" I was on the verge of bursting from frustration. I wouldn't be using any illegal curses this time. Besides, if I tried, I would probably blow my head off because I couldn't hold my wand correctly. "It takes practice." "Easy for you to say! You didn't tear yourself up yesterday!" The day before, a Ministry wizard had come to teach the sixth years how to Apparate. Though I couldn't officially take the test until May, we were allowed to take the twelve-week course for a fee. So far I had paid twelve Galleons to get injured. I was with Theodore in the dungeons. We had been practicing nonverbal spells for Defense Against the Dark Arts but ended up discussing Apparition when I messed up my spell again due to the inability to hold my wand. "Listen, Lyra, stop worrying about Apparition!" "Why can't I do it? I'm the only one who Splinched this much! You don't realize how humiliating this is? I can perform a Cruciatus Curse but when it comes to Apparating I fail! I don't want to practice ever again if it's going to cost me all of my fingers!" "All right, all right!" I could tell he was growing annoyed with my complaints and frustration. "Just ... calm down. If you need to take some potion for the Splinching, go see Madam Pomfrey again." Sitting down against the wall, I said, "No, I'll be fine." I sighed. "I wish I could get out of the castle for a bit. Too bad we can't go to Hogsmeade." He sat down next to me and said, "Something else is bothering you, isn't it?" "Well, yes. I'd like to go back to Narcissa's. There are other things I want to ask her, but it's not really possible now."

"About what?" he asked. "About the arrest, mainly. I've been having all sorts of nightmares ever since I read that article." "I'm sorry. I didn't mean for it to affect you like this." "That's all ri - what was that?" I stopped speaking because I heard something. It sounded like an object rattling in a wardrobe or cabinet. "Did you hear that?" "Yeah. I think it's coming from over there," he said, pointing into a run-down room that nobody ever went into. "Should we check it out?" "Why not?" I asked, standing up and heading in the direction of the noise. It sounded again. "Sounds like a boggart," Theodore said. "There's a cabinet over there. It probably moved in since nobody ever comes here. We could exterminate it." "Yeah, we should. I'll do it." He shrugged and allowed me to step slower to the cabinet. Holding my wand as best as I could with my injured finger, I opened flicked it and opened the cabinet door. At least I could do that simple spell. I waited curiously for the boggart to come out. Last time I had faced a boggart was in my third year with Professor Lupin, and back then it had been a general Death Eater, which, when it appeared, was just a person in a black hooded cloak. But now that times had changed dramatically, I had a feeling my boggart would be different. I was right. Several green snakes - bright, emerald green snakes slithered out of the cabinet and came toward me. I was paralyzed with fear to the point that I couldn't remember the incantation to defeat a boggart. My nightmare had come true in that moment. The snakes came toward me and slithered around my ankles. I lost my balance and fell over. Then the largest, most unnaturally gruesome snake glided over my legs. I began to hyperventilate, remembering how this dream ended ... "Riddikulus!" With a crack, the snakes turned into multicolored strings and limply fell off of me. A second later, Theodore was at my side. He pulled me up and held me close, trying to calm my trembling and gasping.

I closed my eyes and tried to relax, but it was difficult. I had been under the impression that those snakes only existed in my nightmares. I still had no idea what they were, but I lost it every time I saw them. "That was your dream, wasn't it?" Theodore whispered. I nodded, still quivering, almost in tears. "I had ... no idea ... " My voice was dry, but I continued to speak. "Those snakes ... I don't know what they are, but that's what my boggart has become." "It's all right. They're gone." My breathing was back to normal, but I was still shaking. He pulled me close. We stood there for minutes until I had completely calmed down. "Are you sure you'll be all right?" he asked. "I think you need to see Madam Pomfrey." "No, I don't." "She may be able to help." "I'm recovered. I don't think she can do anything to change my greatest fear. I'd rather not have to explain the boggart to her. I don't even know what it means myself." "She could help you figure it out." "She's a nurse, not a psychologist." He laughed. "You can be really stubborn." "Stubborn, eh?" I loosened myself from his grip. "That's what you think?" He smiled good-humoredly with a smirking gleam in his eye. "Yeah, that's what I think." I spun around on the spot and threw my hands in the air. "See, totally recovered." Then I fixed him with a serious stare. "You don't have to worry about me. Really." I came closer again. "Please understand that."

"All right, I understand. You've recovered." "Good. It was just a boggart, anyway. It wasn't going to kill me. I'm sorry I'm so utterly incapable of defeating such an easy enemy." "I wouldn't call your worst fear an easy enemy." "But the spell is simple - " "Lyra." He laughed. "It's okay. And before I could try to defend or justify myself once more, I was cut off when he put his mouth to mine. I knew then - before then, really - that I didn't have to prove anything to him. But he always seemed so together, so collected, whereas I was a mess. I let it go, however, as I kissed him back, realizing that we were in a dungeon where nobody was bound to find us. Snogging around the school in public view didn't suit us. Ron Weasley and Lavender Brown had killed that trend. But sneaking out at night was always difficult, what with the potential of getting caught and the hours of sleep it deprived us of. The dungeon, while not as romantic as the lakeside at night, at least allowed us to stay out of trouble or public eye. ... Or not. "I may vomit." We broke apart. There was Snape, standing right in the doorway. Right then, I forgot all about the boggart and was filled to the top with rage. I blushed heavily, but nobody could see due to the darkness of the room. Why did Snape, of all people, have to find us like this? "Mr. Nott ... Miss Lestrange ... may I ask what you two are doing in this abandoned room?" "We found a boggart, sir," Theodore answered calmly, plainly pretending Snape hadn't seen anything. But despite the dim lighting of the room, I could see him turning red. Whether it was from anger of embarrassment (or a mixture of both) I didn't know. "A boggart?" Snape asked curiously. "And you decided to get rid of it yourself instead of asking for a teacher?" "Yes, sir. Lyra attacked it, but ... " He stopped, not wanting to expose my weakness. "You see those strings? Those were the snakes that made up her boggart. I cast the charm on them to destroy them."

"But Mr. Nott, don't you realize that it would have made more sense to ask a teacher for help?" "But Professor, we know how to fight boggarts," he said somewhat defensively. His grip tightened; he was still holding onto me. "Nevertheless," Snape said, "When I came in here, I saw something quite different. On a day as fine as this, why are the two of you in the gloomy dungeons when you could be outside on the lakeshore? Something tells me you could be up to something." "We weren't up to anything; we just wanted some privacy!" Theodore said, being extremely protective now. "What's wrong with that? The grounds are crowded today." "Detention, Mr. Nott. There's no need to talk like that with me, as Miss Lestrange knows very well. Actually, make it two detentions. My office, tonight. Both of you." "What did she do?" Theodore argued. "Mr. Nott, do not use that tone! The two of you exterminated that boggart instead of getting help; therefore you will both serve detention!" "But ... " "Don't argue with him," I said quietly. "You'll only get us into more trouble." End Notes: Admittedly this is not my best chapter. It was a bit forced because I had major writer's block at the time. However, it was a good opportunity to show Lyra's boggart. And I borrowed a Snape line from the OotP movie :P Back to index Chapter 40- Temper Takes Control by Lyra Lestrange Author's Notes: Another filler chapter...the climax begins after this one. ~Chapter 40- Temper Takes Control~ Another strange occurrence similar to Katie Bell's accident happened: Ron Weasley ended up in the hospital wing after drinking poisoned wine. Theodore reported to me that Malfoy had been acting even more suspicious than usual too, which made me rethink everything ... maybe he was a Death Eater after all. Maybe he could he have given Ron the wine-but was it intended for somebody else?

On top of that, Quidditch was not going well. As Ron was in the hospital wing, Cormac McLaggen had replaced him as Keeper. Then, on the day of the match, McLaggen acted as if he was Captain instead of Harry, causing him to show Peakes how to properly hold a bat.' This made him hit a Bludger which knocked Harry unconscious, therefore we lost to Hufflepuff three hundred and twenty to sixty. Everything seemed to get better when Katie Bell returned from St. Mungo's and was back on the Quidditch team, as was Ron after recovering from his poisoning. McLaggen was off the team and we were all flying smoothly. It was like a roller coaster (some Muggle thing I learned about) with Quidditch, though, because it always went from bad to worse. Once we were finally doing well, Harry announced that he would be in detention with Snape; therefore he couldn't play at the final match against Ravenclaw, the one that would decide which House would win the cup. ... And yet, by some miracle, we still managed to win. And of course, I ended up in another detention with Snape as well. Once again, I lost my temper in his class and ended up leaving because I threw a tantrum. But this time, things went differently. It all started when Snape handed back our essays on - what else? the Cruciatus Curse. I was disappointed to find a large black P' scribbled at the top, so I raised my hand and asked innocently, "Professor, I'm not sure what I did wrong on my essay." He lowered his eyes at me and said, "Miss Lestrange, I think it is quite clear that you got your facts mixed up. The Cruciatus Curse does not result due to anger, it is a curse used to torture." Malfoy sniggered. I said, "But it can happen like that." "I told you to base your essay off the information given in the book. Not once does it mention a connection between anger and the curse." "But sir - " "Your grade is final! Unless you can prove to me that anger has anything to do with the subject, I suggest you stop trying to get me to raise your grade! Have you ever seen the Cruciatus Curse used before? If not - "

"Yes, I have, actually!" I yelled, standing up from my seat and knocking my chair over. "I probably know it better than you! Do you know who I'm related - ?" "Detention tonight, Miss Lestrange! Obviously my punishments have not taught you anything! Now, sit down so I can continue to teach the class!" Glaring at him, I began to sit down, fixing my chair as I did so. But things took an unexpected turn when Theodore (who was sitting next to me) stood up and said, "You just don't know what the Cruciatus Curse is if you're giving her a 'P'!" I turned red. The whole class was staring at us now, Theodore was out of his chair, and Snape was looking venomous. I knew he was only trying to defend me, but he didn't have to announce my whole grade to the class. I saw Malfoy smirking at my embarrassment while the rest of the class looked either amused or frightened. "For the next two weeks," Snape said, "the two of you will come to my office every night and serve detention. Your tasks will be more difficult because I don't seem to be getting through to either of you." Theodore opened his mouth to argue, but Snape said, "I don't care whose fault it is. The two of you are a couple; therefore you shall be punished as one." Then he turned around and walked to the front of the class. Even more embarrassed, I glared at Theodore but didn't say a word. I would deal with this after class. I wasn't going to risk more detention and humiliation.

"Thanks for that," I said to him outside of Snape's classroom. At first he missed the sarcasm because he said, "Thanks for ... what?" "For what? You very well know what! How about - oh, I don't know embarrassing me? How about getting me stuck in two more weeks of detention when it could have only been one night?" "Lyra, I'm sorry! I just wanted to help you." "Well, you know what? I can take care of myself. I don't need anyone to watch out for me. For some reason, everyone thinks I need to be looked after, but I'm not stupid. And I swear, Theodore-I didn't blame you the first time, but if you get me into any more detentions, I'll ... I'll - " He raised an eyebrow and said, "You'll what?"

Instinctively my wand was out and pointed at him. "This isn't time for you to be acting like that!" "All right, all right! I'm sorry! I won't defend you anymore! I didn't realize I was doing anything to anger you!" "Then you're an idiot! You're acting just like you did before we were -" " - Going out," he finished for me, rolling his eyes. "Listen, I'm sorry. Could you accept that and move on?" I was now aware of the stares coming from other students who were just passing by on their way to their classes, but I ignored them without caring. I said, "An apology isn't going to get me out of detention!" "Well, at least we'll be in detention together." Now I rolled my eyes. "Great! Wonderful! Just perfect! You get me in detention and now I have to serve it with you?" After that I stomped off. I had no intention of going to my next class. Instead I headed for Gryffindor Tower as Theodore called behind me, "Lyra! Lyra, wait! I didn't mean - Lyra!" Once I reached the Fat Lady's portrait, I crossed the deserted common room and sprinted up to the dormitory three stairs at a time. Once I reached my bed, I curled up on top of it and stared at the wall, thinking about what had just happened. We had never fought before. I knew he didn't mean anything when he was trying to help me out, but I was really getting tired of Snape's punishments. Then, with a jolt of realization, I knew that it was completely my fault. If I hadn't stood up and defied Snape, Theodore wouldn't have done it too. If I didn't always end up in detention with him anyway, it wouldn't be so bad serving a few more. And he had only been trying to help me. It all came back to the same things. I was in detention because of anger, which was due to Sirius's death, which was due to Bellatrix, which was due to everything I was. Now I may have lost Theodore too, which was far from my intention. Everything was my fault. I had to reconcile with him as soon as I could. Then a terrible thought hit me-what if it was too late? Had I blown it already and lost everything?

End Notes: Hm. This one is short. Sorry about that; I know you all like long chapters. I needed to transition the Christmas chapter to the climax, so I used this as a filler. I thought Lyra and Theodore's romance was too perfect, so I thought this would show that it's not and that her anger issues haven't completely vanished... Review, please" :D Back to index Chapter 41- Torn Loyalties by Lyra Lestrange Author's Notes: The climax of part three begins... ~Chapter 41- Torn Loyalties~ It was a quiet evening with the sun blazing in the sky, painting it with rose, blue, and lilac. The lake was blood red in the light, rippling peacefully, but I stared away from it. I was under a tree on the lakeshore - the tree Theodore and I used to always visit under curled up in the fetal position with my head turned to the side, resting on my knees. I was back to being the person I had been before Theodore and I were together. Without him, it was like an empty space in my heart that had temporarily been filled was now empty again. I was the old Lyra, the pre-Theodore post-Sirius dying Lyra. I hated being that Lyra. I hadn't spoken to Theodore yet, and I wasn't sure how to go up to him and say anything. I wasn't even sure what I wanted to say. And then, as if he had been reading my mind from afar, I saw him approaching. When he noticed me curled up and depressed, his pace quickened. Once he was at my side, he knelt down beside me but didn't say anything. I was the first to speak. "I'm sorry," I whispered, my eyes closed. I didn't want to look at him in case there was anger or hurt in his eyes. "So am I," he murmured gently and quietly. "You didn't deserve those two weeks of detention, and I know you can take care of yourself. I didn't mean to embarrass you or ... hurt you like that." "It was my fault. I didn't want to fight. I was so afraid I'd lost you. I'm always the one to start things with my anger. I should have it under control, but nothing works. I thought playing Beater in Quidditch would, but apparently I can still snap if I reach my limit." "I don't blame you for getting angry," he said. "Nobody realizes

what you've been through, and you're only human. I know it's not easy. I'm willing to forgive you if you'll forgive me." "I forgive you," I said so quietly I barely even heard myself. My voice trembled as I spoke. "I just wish things could be different sometimes. I've lost so much." "That may be, but you haven't lost me. Here." He gave me his hand like always and pulled me up. I caught a glimpse of the sun sinking below the horizon as I rose to my feet. He held me around the waist as I kept my gaze glued to his, saying, "I'm glad I haven't lost you." He smiled and said, "You won't lose me. Now, Lyra ... there's something I've wanted to tell you for some time now and I was preparing to tell you before our fight, and then that came up. I think now would be a good time ... so ... what I'm trying to say is ... I guess ... I ... " He was cut off when a loud crashing noise boomed from the castle. We both looked to the source of the sound, but couldn't see anything. "Something's happening," Theodore said, his voice dark. "Should we see what that was?" I asked, my voice quavering. "In a minute. But first - " "Ouch!" The skin against my thigh suddenly blazed red-hot. I reached into my robe pocket; my fingers received the same sensation. It was my Galleon from the D.A., which had not burned in over a year. Why it was in my pocket now I wasn't sure, but it was a good thing it was. "Something's going on in the castle," I told him urgently. "What's that you have?" "Doesn't matter. We should go inside and see what's happening." "But Lyra, can't I at least - " "There's no time!" I exclaimed in a panicked voice. "Come on, follow me!" I ran toward the castle doors as Theodore followed, cursing in frustration. I ignored his longing to tell me whatever it was, feeling that whatever was happening inside was probably more important.

My robes trailed behind me as I ran; I reached the doors before he did. I stopped to catch my breath as I waited for him. Once he approached, we heard another crash. "It's on one of the upper floors. Let's go!" "Lyra! Lyra, wait!" "I said we need to get inside!" "No, this is serious! Come here and look at this!" His eyes were wide with shock. I hurried to his side to see where he was pointing. High above us, hovering over the Astronomy Tower, was the Dark Mark. "How's your wrist feeling?" he asked. "Painful," I replied, just before reality hit quite late. "Theodore Death Eaters are attacking the school!" "I know. I know. We need to go see what they're doing and - " Before he could finish, I was dashing up the Grand Staircase, heading for the seventh floor. He followed hastily, and once we were on the staircase from the second to the third floor, I stopped abruptly as a new thought hit me. He stopped and crashed into me, knocking me to the ground. "I'm sorry." "Don't worry about it. Theodore, I get it now, and you were right. This must be Malfoy's plan. This is what he's been up to," I told him darkly. He gasped. "You have to be right. We can't wait any longer. We need to find out what this is." We made it to the seventh floor without stopping, but once we reached the staircase it seemed to lead into eternal darkness. We could hear shouts and screams as curses were cast all over. The bangs were getting louder. "What happened here?" I whispered. "I know what that is - Peruvian Instant Darkness Powder." "Should we keep going?" I asked nervously. "There's a fight going on up there; I can hear it." Just as I spoke, a flash of red light shot

down the stairs and hit the wall, barely missing me. "I don't know if it's worth the risk. We won't be able to see a thing." "Then ... what do we do?" I panicked. My stomach tightened nervously. "We can't just wait around!" "We could go back to the ground and hide until it's over. We could go to the forest ... " "The forest? Theodore, we have to figure out what's going on! There could be people we know in this fight!" "Sh - Someone's coming!" he whispered in a hushed voice. "I hear them from those stairs over there - quick, get behind this statue!" He grabbed my arm and yanked me behind the stone structure, not bothering with gentleness. He pulled his wand out; I did the same. We waited as three pairs of shoes ascended the stairs. Peering around the corner, I saw three people I recognized well: Bill Weasley, Remus Lupin, and ... "Dora!" I shouted, standing up, though Theodore still had his hand gripped tightly around the sleeve of my robe. With a rip, it tore off and he stood up furiously, saying, "Get back down!" "No, it's okay!" "Lyra!" Dora approached me with Bill and Lupin behind her. "Lyra, do you know what's happening? We were told to come because Death Eaters attacked!" "We figured out that much but we don't know why or how they got here. We just came to investigate and it's no use; the whole floor is covered in darkness." "It must be thinning out," Bill said. "Look, we can get through now." He pointed his wand up the stairs and I saw that the corridor was almost clear. "Are you saying we should go up?" I asked. "No," Dora said. "We'll fight. You find some place to hide." "Dora, no! My Galleon burned, the one from the D.A. last year! They need help; they need to more to fight!" "Okay, then ... I guess ... "

Though she wasn't pleased with my choice, she proceeded up the stairs. I turned to Theodore and said, "Aren't you coming?" "No. Lyra, I can't. I can't fight against the Death Eaters. You know I can't." "But ... " I didn't know what to say. "But you ... you're just going to let them ... oh. Your father, right? I guess you can't fight against him." He let out a laugh, sounding half amused, half frustrated. "Lyra, didn't you know? My father's in Azkaban. He was at the Ministry battle, remember? I thought you had that much figured out!" I flushed with embarrassment and turned away. I should have known. I was fighting back tears now, stung by his words. Though we were a couple, we were extremely different, what with our families - the ones we were loyal to, anyway - on opposite sides of the war. For once I felt distant from him. He wouldn't fight with me, but would he really fight against me? "You're not crying, are you?" he asked, but it wasn't really asking. He was almost snapping at me. I hadn't been crying until then, but as soon as he spoke the words, the tears flowed. "Lyra." His voice was flat and stern. Stop it, I told myself. I wiped my eyes and turned around. "No." He sighed, looking irritated. "Listen, I hate doing this to you. But I can't fight against the Death Eaters. You wouldn't understand." "But you're not going to fight with them, are you?" I asked, and the tears came back. I didn't bother to control them this time. "I - well ... " He bit his lip, looking thoughtful. "No. I won't fight with them. I'm going to try to find Malfoy and see what he's up to." I sighed in relief, but tried to keep it quiet. He wouldn't be taking a side tonight. "I know this means a lot to you," he said, "so I won't fight at all. We're wasting time standing here. I'll try to find Draco, and you go...do what you're planning to do." "Okay. Theodore, thank ... " I began to say, but he was already dashing into the disappearing darkness. " ... you." Still feeling dissatisfied, I bounded up the steps and into the battle,

gripping my wand so tightly my hand hurt. Immediately two Death Eaters spotted me. "There's one!" "Hey, it's her! It's the Lestrange girl!" "You're right! Stupefy!" "Protego!" My spell bounced the Death Eater's spell back and knocked into him. He fell backward, Stunned, and hit the stone wall. The other one aimed a curse at me, but it simply singed the bottom of my robes as I dashed away. Around the corner I nearly crashed into someone. After seeing a blur of fiery orange, I realized it was Ginny. Her eyes widened when she saw me. "Lyra! You got the message?" "Yes! What's going on?" "Death Eaters - they got in, but we have no idea how! We don't know what they're up to, either. Right now we're just trying to get them out!" "I'm here to help!" I announced just as another Death Eater came around the corner and shot a fiery curse at us. I gasped and ducked instinctively. The Death Eater shot the curse again. I tried to block it but my Shield Charm was too late. I felt an intense burning sensation in my arm and heard someone mutter, "So weak ... " Everything was gone, and I was swallowed by blackness. End Notes: More to come! Please review! And happy holidays, everyone! Back to index Chapter 42- The True End by Lyra Lestrange Author's Notes: Hope everybody's holidays went well. ~Chapter 42- The True End~ "You failed, Lyra." Bellatrix was in front of me, glaring down at my limp body lying against a cold stone floor. I struggled to get up, but I had no energy. "This is what you get for staying on their side. You failed. How long

were you fighting? Five minutes? It doesn't have to be like that. It's not too late yet ... you can still change your mind ... " "NO!" I found my energy and sprang up, realizing that I had been dreaming. Around me it was dark, but I recognized the beds of the hospital wing. I felt cold even though I was covered in blankets and was sweating heavily. When my eyes focused, I saw Dora's concerned face hovering over me. "Lyra!" she exclaimed. "You're awake!" "How long have I been asleep?" I croaked. "Only a few hours." "So ... what happened?" "One of the Death Eaters cursed you and you passed out. He burned your arm pretty badly. They're gone now - the Death Eaters, I mean ... " She trailed off, her tone dark, and my stomach lurched. What else had happened? Had someone died? Someone from the Order or the D.A. or maybe a Hogwarts teacher? "What? Dora, tell me what happened!" She shook her head. "Bill Weasley got injured. He's over there on that bed." For the first time, I noticed a large crowd of people at the bed to the left of mine. The Weasley family (including Fleur Delacour, Bill's fiance), Harry, Hermione, Luna, Professor McGonagall, and Lupin made up the group. Bill's family was closest to him, while others sat farther away in chairs. "What happened to him?" I whispered, figuring that if so many people were at Bill's side, his wounds must be serious. "He was bitten by a werewolf, Fenrir Greyback, but Greyback wasn't transformed. We're not sure what's going to happen to him. Remus says he probably won't be a full werewolf, but wolf or not, his face is badly disfigured." She looked away from me and stared at the ground, biting her lip. There was obviously more to the story. "What aren't you telling me?" I asked.

She paused for several seconds, took a deep breath, and said, "Lyra ... Dumbledore's dead. Harry says Snape killed him." "Snape killed Dumbledore?" I exclaimed in disbelief. "No! I always knew Snape was a scumbag, but Dumbledore trusted him! He killed Dumbledore?" As I said the words myself, reality hit. Dumbledore was the only one Voldemort had ever feared. With him gone, the world would become chaos. The Death Eaters would take over, people would be murdered, and it would be worst than the last war! I felt hot tears on my cheeks as I thought about this. Dora said, "We're all sad. He was a great wizard." "No!" I yelled. "It's not that! If Dumbledore is dead, what will happen to us? Everything as we know it is going to end! What about Hogwarts? What about the Order? What about everything?" "I know," she whispered lightly. "I know. We'll discuss it, but..." She stopped speaking. I buried my face in my hands, but I was too tired to cry or even think anymore, so I took in the surroundings. For the first time, I saw him. He was sitting across the room on an empty bed, eyes staring blankly ahead. There was something he had wanted me to know, something he wanted to say. After tonight's events, would he still tell me, or did it matter anymore? I got up from my bed and walked over to him. He was looking away with a dead look in his eyes. I realized now that Dumbledore's death must have affected him in several different ways. He was probably feeling torn loyalties again. "Theodore - " I began, but I was cut off when I heard Dora's voice from across the room. I glanced over, seeing her approach Lupin and glare at him, shouting, "You see! She still wants to marry him, even though he's been bitten! She doesn't care!" [*] I had missed the preceding conversation, but it didn't matter; she was talking about Fleur's love for Bill despite his disfigurement. Fixated on Lupin, I listened for his response. "It's different," he replied. "Bill will not be a full werewolf. The cases are completely - " [**] "But I don't care, either, I don't care! I've told you a million times ... " [***] "And I've told you a million times, that I am too old for you, too

poor ... too dangerous ... " [***] I remembered Dora's diary entries that I had stumbled upon. He had spoken those exact words to her before: too old, too poor, too dangerous ... Then someone else spoke, making me more surprised. Mrs. Weasley said, "I've said all along you're taking a ridiculous line on this, Remus." [***] I guess I wasn't the only one who knew about Dora's feelings for Remus. Either she didn't hide it well, or maybe she had confided in Mrs. Weasley. Then again, maybe someone like Mrs. Weasley could simply read between the lines and know exactly what was going on. "I am not being ridiculous," Lupin said. "Tonks deserves somebody young and whole." [***] My mind drifted back to a day that was far too long ago, the day in Diagon Alley when Dora's old classmate had approached her and taunted her. Was Lupin saying that those were the people she deserved? She didn't deserve them at all. He didn't realize how most people saw her. "But she wants you. And after all, Remus, young and whole men do not necessarily remain so," [***] Mr. Weasley said, gesturing at Bill. "This is ... not the moment to discuss it. Dumbledore is dead ... " [***] Not now, but just wait, I thought as an idea struck me. Maybe somebody else could talk some sense into Remus. Yes, I had previously been against Dora having a relationship with Remus. But she was so depressed, and the world around us was only becoming darker ... Hagrid's giant figure appeared in the hospital wing. He was crying heavily. I took advantage of this distraction to talk Theodore. When he looked at me, I couldn't read his expression. I wasn't sure what to say. How did he honestly feel about Dumbledore's death? Would we even discuss this at all? "So ... " I began nervously. "So," he said. "Theodore ... I ... what do you think ... ?"

I was lost for words. He shrugged and his face returned to its blank look. I sat down on the opposite bed, feeling empty. What was I supposed to say? What were we even here to talk about anyway? Then I remembered earlier, by the lake during sunset, before anything catastrophic had happened. "Um, Theodore? Earlier this evening, you said - " "Yeah." He stood up in a snap. His eyes flashed intensely for a second before he turned to me, and I saw a new emotion in his expression: pain. "So what was it?" He took a deep breath, formulating the words in his head. He bit his lip with a pained expression. Finally he spoke, and when he did his words were, "This isn't how I wanted things to be. I wanted to say this earlier, but the events went far differently than they should have. I would have preferred to say this at a better time, but it's now or never, really. Because of what happened tonight, things will be changing, but before that I really do have something to say." He looked me straight in the eyes and wrapped his arms around my waist, but did it gently and cautiously, as if I were extremely fragile and would break at the slightest touch. "Lyra ... I ... I love you. I love you more than anything. I've wanted to tell you this, but earlier you ran off, wanting to find out what was going on in the castle, and so ... " I was stunned by his words. I had no idea that he was going to say that. And while I was touched, my feelings were soiled with a trace of guilt. I should have listened. It would have only taken him a few seconds to say those words. Why did I have to mess up again? Not to mention this: why hadn't I seen it coming? Our feelings for each other had been plenty obvious but never spoken. I should have expected it. Then I thought about the way he had said it, and I knew it didn't matter. I felt my eyes fill with tears of emotion. I knew I felt the same way. I tried to speak, to return the words, but I couldn't. My throat had gone dry, and I realized that I was forgetting to breathe. "I ... I ... " No sound was coming out. Wishing I could somehow give him the message without speaking, I looked into his eyes and tried, but failed. His expression was still pained, but I wasn't sure why. And it wasn't like he could read the look in my eyes - they were too full of

tears. "I love you too," I said, though my voice cracked and I spoke so quietly that I barely heard myself. But he had heard me, because he pulled me close and kissed my forehead. Then, sighing deeply, he looked at me and said, "There's something else I need to talk to you about." The pain in his eyes seemed to increase as he let go of me. I sat down on the bed again, expecting the worse. Then he seemed to decide he couldn't say it while looking at me, so he looked away. "I have to leave you." A shadow fell over me. What had he just said? "What?" I asked tearfully. "I have to. I can't see you anymore. I'm sorry, Lyra. I really hate to do this, but I can't change it." "But ... why?" I was incapable of crying at that moment, too stunned to speak or do anything for that matter. Had I done something wrong? I was so afraid I had lost him the other day ... was it because of that? Had I truly blown it? But no...he said he loved me. He wouldn't say that if he was about to ... My thoughts were cut off when he spoke, answering my question: "I don't want to leave you and I really don't want to hurt you, but now that Dumbledore is dead, my father will make me join the Death Eaters. I know he will, and there's no point in arguing with him. I won't be returning to Hogwarts next year. I'm sure I'll have to leave within the next few days. So Lyra, remember what I said. I'm really sorry, but that's just how it has to be." "No ... no ... " I couldn't contain my tears any longer. "You can't leave! You can't join the Death Eaters! What if I never see you again?" The thought pierced my heart like a thorn. He was only seventeen; what if he didn't survive the Death Eaters? "I thought about that, but ... don't worry about it. The Death Eaters are going to fail. I know they will. Don't you know about Voldemort? There's something he can't do, and he'll fail because of it." "What's that?" I asked. "What can't Voldemort do?"

"Love," he said gently. "Voldemort ... can't ... love?" "I don't think so. And he'll fail because of it. Believe me on this one. I may have to leave and join him, but I won't forget you. I love you," he said again. "I'll still love you when I'm away. But Lyra, if you find a new boy, I won't mind. I don't want you to feel alone." "I won't find anyone else," I whispered. "The whole world thinks I'm a freak, remember? And I won't be alone; I'll have my family. I'll love you when we're apart, anyway. But if you find a new girlfriend - " For once, he laughed. "I don't think I'll be able to date while working for Voldemort." Though I was embarrassed, I said, "This is really the end, then ... isn't it?" "Yes, but only for now. I'm terribly sorry. I'm hurting just as much as you are. You taught me so much." Not as much as you taught me. I didn't know what else to say. There wasn't really much else we could say. After tonight, everything would be over. We would part ways and I would be without him, wondering if I would ever see him again ... He wiped the tears from my face and said, "Don't worry. This war will be over someday, and we'll be together." I nodded through my tears and wrapped myself around him. He hugged me tightly for a second before he kissed me. When he did, I felt everything dissolve around me. I didn't care that there were several other people in the wing. The only palpable thing in the world was the two of us together. I could feel the tears running down my face but I made no attempt to control them. I wished I could enjoy the kiss more, but my only thought was that at any moment we would break apart and everything would be over. All too soon, he pulled away. I refused to look at him; I sunk to the bed with my face in my hands. Looking at him one last time would cause me even more pain, if that was possible. I sat there, shaking with sobs, when I felt his arms around me. He whispered into my ear, "I love you, Lyra. It's not the end. But I have to leave now." He kissed my head one last time, and then I heard his footsteps as he turned to leave. That was it. He was gone. That was the true end.

End Notes: [*] Quote taken from the American version of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, page 623 [**] pages 623-624 [***] page 624 Back to index Chapter 43- Remus Realizes by Lyra Lestrange Author's Notes: Last chapter of part three! ~Chapter 43- Remus Realizes~ I heard the hospital wing door shut. He was gone. I sat there weeping as silently as I could, which wasn't very quiet. Distinctly, I heard the sound of footsteps as others left. When I finally felt calm enough to look up, I saw Dora, Remus, Mr. Weasley, Mrs. Weasley, and Fleur still in the wing. Dora sat in a chair away from everyone. Her head was in her hands just like mine had been a minute before. She wasn't crying ... was she? I was finished with her pitiful state, her miserable attitude toward everything. This had been going on for too long, and it was time to put a stop to it. I snapped up from the bed. The Weasleys and Fleur were still gathered around Bill, but the person I wanted to talk to was in a chair by Madam Pomfrey's desk. He was staring out the window, looking deep in thought. I walked over to him, making as little noise as possible on the way. He didn't seem to notice me until I spoke his name. "Remus." He turned. "Oh. Lyra. Hi." His eyes narrowed in concern. "Are you all right?" "I'm fine," I said, wishing I knew a spell to remove the effects of crying. "So, er ... do you need something?" he asked. I sat down in a chair next to him. "Yes. I really think you need to rethink Dora's request." He opened his mouth to protest but I went on. "I know you don't want to hurt her, but look at her - could you possibly hurt her any worse than you already have?"

"When you say hurt,' do you mean emotionally or - ?" "Hurt just means hurt," I said. "I know what you're going to say you're afraid of hurting her physically. But she doesn't care. Surely you're ... well, with Sirius and your other friends gone..." "You think I'm lonely?" he asked. He paused for a long time as he stared out the window, glanced quickly at Dora, and finally rested his gaze upon me. "You may be right," he said at last, and a jolt of triumph burst within me - "but Tonks doesn't deserve me. Surely you know that?" "Listen," I said fiercely. "Do you know what she endured when she was at school? She was taunted, made fun of, and laughed at because everyone thought she was weird. They took advantage of her. Once she was able to control her Metamorphosing, people would ask her out expecting their dream girl because she could look however she wanted-or however they wanted. When they realized she wasn't the type they wanted, they dumped her. It's always been like that. I've grown up with her, Remus, and I've seen it happen over and over again. But this time it's different. I've never seen her so depressed. Listen to me: she's never wanted someone so badly. Can't you just give her a chance?" "No," he said. "Lyra, listen to me now. I'm a werewolf, as you know very well. If one night I forget to take my potion, then she ... " He didn't finish. "Do you think she cares? Remus, she was willing to get bitten if it would have made you take her in." We stared at each other. He glared at me, and I saw the wolf behind the man. I glared back, but inside I was hoping that this would do it. If that last comment didn't make him realize how serious this was, there was no chance. "How do you know this?" he asked intensely. "I ... read her diary," I murmured. It was quiet for a long time. I was beginning to think he would never give in. Several times he looked like he wanted to speak, but every time he held his tongue. "So that's it, I guess," I said. "Never mind. I thought I could influence you, but I guess you're never going to give in. You can go on and live your life while you watch her gradually become more and more

depressed until - " "If you're trying to make me feel guilty ... " "Well, maybe I am!" He glanced over at Dora. She still had her head in her hands. "I have driven her to a bad state, haven't I?" he said, half to himself. Getting frustrated, I said, "Yes! Is this the first time you've realized that? What's your problem? Is it that you don't want her?" "No. No, not at all." "Then go over there and tell her! Remus, only you can recover her." "Lyra, I'm not really that great at romance or - " "So? So what? Quit making excuses! Do you think that matters to her? Remus, I don't know anything about romance either, but I do know one thing: all my life, being under that stupid identity, I never thought I could be with anyone. Then, this year, I met Theodore. If I can fall in love, so can you." "I ... I ... okay ... I'll go over and talk to her." "There you go." I crossed my arms and gave him a smug smile. "It wasn't that hard, was it? Go on, she's just a girl." He looked at me, quite amused. I could see a smile beginning to break out on his face. "What?" I snapped. He shook his head. "You just sounded so much like Sirius."

Dumbledore's funeral was held within the next few days. Many students were rushed away by their parents, while others begged to stay and pay their last respects. I knew Theodore wouldn't be staying, and I was right - he was gone by morning. The whole Order of the Phoenix attended. I sat with most of them, next to Dora, who had miraculously managed to change her hair back to pink. Though it didn't fit the mood of the funeral, it was great to have her back.

I didn't concentrate very well during the service. Instead I was thinking about how Dumbledore had apparently died. I'd found out from Harry what Draco was up to. He said Malfoy let the Death Eaters in through a Vanishing Cabinet in the Room of Requirement. Malfoy was sent to kill Dumbledore, but he couldn't. Snape ended up doing it for him. Harry witnessed the whole thing on the Astronomy Tower, where the Dark Mark had been cast. Eventually, while at the ceremony, I felt tears hot against my face, but not from grief. I was scared, scared beyond anything imaginable. Without Dumbledore, the only one Voldemort had ever feared, the Death Eaters would grow powerful. And if they won the war ... ? With a jolt, I remembered my boggart. What did the green snakes mean? I knew for some reason that I was afraid of them, but did they have anything to do with the war? Those snakes weren't normal. What was my biggest fear? I tried to work it out as I listened to a minister discuss the life of Albus Dumbledore. I wasn't afraid of the snakes. I was afraid of Voldemort and the Dark Side. When the funeral ended, I stood up, still weeping. I looked at Dora, who was next to Lupin. Both were teary from sorrow. Dora forced a smile as she said, "Come on. Let's go home." I nodded my head and turned to leave, not at all ready to exit Hogwarts and return home without knowing what the future would bring or what we would have to face. END OF PART THREE. Back to index Chapter 44- Lost in the Chaos by Lyra Lestrange Author's Notes: Part 4/4 is here! As you would you expect, it takes place during DH. ~~PART FOUR: THE TWO SIDES OF THE WAR~~ ~Chapter 44- Lost in the Chaos~ Within just a few weeks of Dumbledore's death, Voldemort was taking over. Wizards and Muggles alike were dying in brutal ways every day. Everything I had predicted would happen was happening. ... And yet, life went on. It had to. I was back at home for the summer as usual, listening to Andromeda fret over everything and

Dora going on and on about Remus. Though it was great to see Dora happy and bouncy again, I didn't see how she could be so cheerful during these dark times. I was the opposite. I spent almost every moment in my room, sitting quietly and doing nothing. Depression had taken its hold on me. For the first few weeks, all I thought about were the Daily Prophet headlines, what my parents may be doing, and Theodore. My main question was: Had he really joined the Death Eaters? Thinking about this made me wonder what would happen to him. About a hundred times a day I thought, he could be killed working as a Death Eater which normally caused me to have a meltdown and end up sobbing loudly into my pillow until Andromeda came upstairs and spent an hour trying to comfort me. It was awful, and there was no way out of it. Even worse, for every second Dora was happy, I became more upset. I guess I was jealous of her, because she managed to find happiness in this world of darkness. One day she came into my room (I was in tears, as usual) and said, "Remus just sent me an owl and he want me to - Lyra?" So I stood up and screamed at her, "I don't care what's going on between you and Remus, Dora! Stop acting so cheerful all the time because if you haven't noticed, there's a major war going on and all you ever say is Remus this, Remus that! Just shut up and stop talking to me; I'm tired of hearing about anything you have to say!" She was quite taken aback, but I didn't care. I was weeping into my pillow again. On top of that, I braced myself, waiting for her to yell back at me, but nothing came. I heard her voice say softly, "Sit up. Let's talk." Reluctantly I did, but looked at the floor instead of her. I knew I looked a mess these days. I chose to speak first. "What's happening to me?" "It's to be expected," she said. "I won't say I understand how you feel because I know I don't, but you're suffering from a broken heart. On top of that, you're worried about him and everyone else you love, plus you're torn between two sides because you think he's joined the other one. And you're right; there's a major war going on." "I don't follow," I told her. "I'm such an idiot!" I threw myself onto the bed so that I was on my back, staring at the

ceiling. "Why do you say that?" Dora interrogated. "Why did I have to fall in love with him? I knew it would lead to heartbreak, deep down. I'm so stupid." "You can't really help falling in love. Everyone falls in and out of love, but ... well, I know it's different for you, since you're kind of dealing with dark versus light ... " For once, she didn't have any advice on the subject of romance, her area of expertise. Really, she was only making things worse. I retorted to her comment with, "Dark and light? Dora, he's not on the Dark Side." "But you said ... never mind. I - I have to go. I'm ... er ... meeting Remus," she finished quickly. "See you later, Lyra. And hang in there." "Yeah, right. Thanks for the help." Once she was out the door, I repositioned myself so that my head was on my pillow and closed my eyes. Dora's words were stinging me. Thoughtfully, I concluded that we both had dark and light in us, which was why we were connected ... which was why I was in love with him. After what seemed like infinity, I left my room. Andromeda was cooking downstairs as she often did as a pastime, just to get her mind focused on something. When she saw me, she came over and hugged me tightly, saying, "How are you feeling?" Dora had explained everything to her, mainly because I couldn't without breaking down and sobbing until my speech was so slurred it was impossible to comprehend. "Not too great," I murmured. "Well, here. Take this." She waved her wand and Summoned a goblet from one of the neatly organized cabinets. She filled it with some sort of steaming drink and handed it to me. I took it, inhaling the warm, sweet aroma. "What's this?" "Something I was experimenting with. It's got some potion in it that

may make you feel better, but the drink is strong enough to conceal the taste of it. Try it." I took a sip and immediately felt more revived, even if it was only a little bit. Andromeda turned back to the stove and stirred the pan on top of it. I could tell she looked apprehensive because she was muttering words under her breath that didn't sound like incantations. "Something wrong?" I asked. She stopped stirring, but didn't turn around. Looking thoughtful, she said, "Nymphadora tells me that the Prophet is behind on everything. She says the Order knows what's really going on in the Ministry, but more and more Death Eaters are trying to work their way up somehow ... " Her voice trailed off when the shocking possibility hit me and I said, "Andromeda, you don't think they're trying to take over the Ministry, do you?" She sighed. "I think that's exactly what they're trying to do." I nearly splashed the drink-potion mixture onto my robes. "But then ... what will ... what will happen to everything as we know it?" "That's my biggest fear," she said, and I noticed her face growing paler. "If the Death Eaters are in control, they'll be after Muggleborns first, mark my words. It makes me worried for Ted ... " My stomach tightened, and I found I couldn't drink anymore. Would all Muggle-borns be destroyed if the Death Eaters took over and turned the world into some chaotic anarchy? No, that wouldn't happen ... the Death Eaters would reorganize the Ministry so that they had complete control of the government. "Andromeda, thanks for this," I said quickly, placing my half-filled goblet on the table. "I think I'm going to - " Before I could bolt for my bedroom, the door swung open and Dora was there, looking more pleased than I could ever remember seeing her. Her bright pink hair seemed to clash with the mood of both Andromeda and me, and I felt slightly annoyed at her once again. What was she so blithe about this time? "You won't believe what's happened!" she exclaimed, dashing into the kitchen and colliding with the table. My goblet tipped over and the hot brown liquid spilled all over the top, but Dora seemed to take no notice. She could hardly contain her excitement as she

grinned and said, "Remus and I are going to be married!" It took me a moment to realize what she had said. "M-married?" I stammered. "Already?" "Yes, I know! But we figured that with the war and both of us being in the Order, we might not get the ... " She didn't finish, and I didn't want her to. I was still rooted to the spot, but Andromeda was already rushing over to her daughter and hugging her tightly. Her eyes were full of tears as she sobbed, "Married! Oh, Nymphadora, how wonderful! I can't believe you're already going to be married! You've grown up so fast! Just yesterday I was - " "Yeah, yeah, Mum, I know," Dora said. Her face was red and she was attempting to untangle herself from Andromeda's grasp. Something like a smile spread across my lips, and I tried to remember the last time anything worth celebrating had happened. "Anyway, Remus wants to do something small and quiet, with family and Order members only." She didn't sound bitter at all, which surprised me. I always thought Dora would want a huge, extravagant wedding. Maybe she still did but was willing to give up that much for Remus and others - maybe Remus didn't want a big wedding because he didn't want to attract attention. It made sense. After all, the worst possible scenario would be a Death Eater attack at a wedding. End Notes: Please review! I didn't get any reviews for the last chapter, so did the notification get through to those who have favorited this story? Back to index Chapter 45- The Order's Ordeal by Lyra Lestrange Author's Notes: Yay for an update! ~Chapter 45- The Order's Ordeal~ The wedding was boring, especially considering it was Dora's, who had always dreamed of a colossal one. Few people attended. Since Remus's parents weren't alive anymore and he didn't have any siblings, the only people there besides me were Ted, Andromeda, Kingsley, Mad-Eye, and a few other Order members. Mr. and Mrs. Weasley couldn't make it because they were too busy preparing for another wedding, Bill and Fleur's. During the reception, Mad-Eye came over. I was sitting with Andromeda and Ted, nearly gagging on firewhisky. It was my first time tasting it, and it was utterly repulsive.

"I need to talk to you," Mad-Eye said when he arrived without any sort of greeting. "As I'm sure Tonks has told you, we're retrieving Harry Potter from his aunt and uncle's home in a few weeks. We have a plan to get him safely to the Burrow, and we need others to help. We thought we could send Harry to your place and put protective enchantments around your house so You-Know-Who can't get to him. Then we would use a Portkey to send him to the Burrow. What I need to know is this: are you willing to do this for us?" "Of course," Andromeda replied. "Yeah, we'll shelter him," said Ted. "Great. The Order will come to put the charms on your home," said Mad-Eye gruffly before he hobbled off. I turned to my aunt and uncle. "What was that all about?" "I think they need to move Harry Potter from his home before his seventeenth birthday, to protect him from Death Eaters," Ted told me. "I can tell it's going to be seriously difficult for them." "More like impossible," I said, taking another sip. I spat it out. "I can't drink this." "It's an acquired taste," said Ted. "I don't think I'll try to acquire it." "Oh ... it's time for their first dance!" Andromeda said. She was so consumed in the wedding that I wasn't sure if she had been paying attention to Mad-Eye. Andromeda had managed to get some recordings to play on a Wireless at the wedding, just for Dora. Since the dream wedding, something Dora had talked about and planned so intensely throughout her whole life that she even drew the dresses, tuxes, and even the wedding cake all over scraps of parchment (or homework), wasn't feasible anymore, Andromeda had managed to capture part of it. Dora had dreamed of having the Weird Sisters play, of course, and even if they weren't live at the reception, she got to hear their music. Dora didn't want a sappy song for her first dance ("absolutely nothing Celestina Warbeck-like" she had said), and Remus probably wanted one less than she did, so they played a slightly upbeat yet still romantic one.

As they danced, I had to admit that despite being an odd couple, you could tell they loved each other. When the first song was over, a slower one came on. I guess you could say it was the sappy song Dora didn't want to dance to. I figured that was Andromeda's choice. I recognized it from the Yule Ball. At least it was still a Weird Sisters song. "This is such a pretty song. Dance with me, Ted," said Andromeda. She held out her hand. Ted wasn't reluctant when he took it, surprising me. Actually, he looked as if he wanted to dance. I sat there on the sidelines and listened to the music. It was actually quite soothing. I closed my eyes and leaned back, picturing myself dancing to it. With a particular someone, of course. "Hey, Lestrange," someone said in a slurred, groggy voice. I snapped my eyes open. Mundungus Fletcher was right in front of me. Why in the world would anybody invite him to my cousin's wedding? "Who invited you?" I spat aloud. "Nobody. Found out from Shacklebolt, though. Thought I could sell some goods here cause I figured there'd be a large crowd, taking your cousin into consideration and all, but no one came." "Still living a life of crime even though we're facing the worst crisis ever? Whose side are you even on, Mundungus?" "I'm for the Order, course. But you gotta make a living somehow. I have a bet for you, if you'll take it." "Wait. You came here trying to make money, and you're prepared to gamble it away?" I should have realized he was drunk. I could smell the firewhisky on his breath as he stood there. But money these days was a bit hard to come by, so I said, "Well, what's this bet?" "More've a dare, actually," he said. "You dance with Mad-Eye, I give you three Galleons." "Mad-Eye?" I asked in disbelief. "He has a clawed foot!" Mundungus shrugged. "Four Galleons." "Um, I don't dance, and I highly doubt Mad-Eye does."

"You're no fun," he said. "I thought you would take it, like your cousin always did. He never turned down a dare from what I heard, and I'm offering you money, even. I thought you were a lot like him, to be honest. These are dark times, Lestrange, and I was hoping you could provide us with a laugh." I didn't know whether to feel insulted or flattered. The fact that he thought I was like Sirius meant a lot, until I reminded myself that Mundungus was a drunken dog and didn't have any idea what he was saying. "First off, you don't know me and you hardly knew Sirius. Second, don't call me Lestrange!" "All right, all right!" "Third ... " I sighed. "You're right, we could all use some humor." "Yeah. A pink haired girl with a werewolf is pretty funny. I'd like to see a girl with a mad ex-Auror." I rolled my eyes. "If you give me Galleons now, I'll ask him. But that doesn't mean he'll say yes." "I'll give you three to ask him, and a fourth if he says yes." "You're insane." I held out my palm and took the gold coins. Then I strode over to where Mad-Eye was sitting beside Kingsley Shacklebolt, deep in discussion about the issue of getting Harry safely with the Order. " - Andromeda and Ted have agreed - " "Um, Mad-Eye?" I said cautiously. I hated to interrupt such an important conversation, but really, there was another time for that other than my cousin's wedding. He looked at me. "Problem, Lyra?" "Oh, um ... I was just wondering if you would dance with me." His large eye swiveled around in its socket while his normal one glared at me. "I don't know if that firewhisky has gone to your head or if you've been confined to your house for too long, but I don't think you realize what you just said." "Oh, yes, I did, and Mundungus is giving me a few Galleons to - " "The filthy pile of rags. Well, he has to blow his money somehow.

We should have kicked him out long ago; I don't even know how he found out about this, but ... well, if that's how it is." "Wait, what?" "Get up. We'll dance." I think some of the firewhisky had gone to his head. When he stepped out on the dance floor, I followed in confusion. A new song had just started. "One song, and that's it," he growled. "Yeah." It wasn't really 'dancing.' I'm sure we both looking like a couple of mountain trolls. Mad-Eye just moved his feet up and down, and with his peg-leg claw-foot, it made a strange clopping noise each time his foot hit the makeshift dance floor. I basically did the same: moved my feet up and down. "You'll help us with Operation Harry, I assume?" he said. Well, this made sense. We weren't about to dance. This just gave him a chance to interrogate me. "If there's anything I can do." "Just make sure he makes it to the Portkey on time." "Portkey. Right." "We just hope it goes according to plan." "Yeah. What exactly do you think will happen?" "Death Eaters, and lots of them. I wouldn't be surprised if they're already hovering over Privet Drive. He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named will undoubtedly be there the night we pick him up. We're trying to trick him. It'll be a miracle if all the Order survives." "What?" I stopped stomping my feet. "But - no! It's too dangerous! Dora and Remus just got married!" "Well, it's a risk we all take, being part of it. You'll join when you're out of school, right?" "Oh, yeah, of course," I muttered. "I suppose. I'd rather not be killed by Death Eaters."

"That surprises me. I thought you had the guts to follow in Tonks's footsteps. Sirius's, too. Looks like that boy changed your mind." "What boy?" I insisted, outraged. "Tonks told me about your boyfriend. She said he was a Slytherin, a son of a Death Eater." "Your point? Are you going to tell me it was wrong for me to see him because I'm associated with the Order and he's associated with the enemy?" "Well, yes, but since you're not seeing him anymore, does it matter?" "Yes, it matters! Who are you to tell me this? Everybody tells me this! Why can't they realize that I'm my own person and I can take care of myself?" "Do you know who his father is?" "Of course I do! He was a Death Eater, just like both of my parents! And I'll even tell you what he told me: his father isn't a very good Death Eater! In fact, he hates his father! He absolutely, positively despises his father! He's a good guy, but everyone fails to see that because, as is the case with me, all they see in the child is the parents!" I stormed off. Mundungus chased after me, saying, "You didn't finish the dance! I want those Galleons back." "Take them! I don't care!" I slapped the coins into this hand and continued to dash away. I ran until I reached a grove of trees. I could still hear the music coming from the dance floor. It was 'Magic Works,' another one that had been played at the ball. The lyrics killed me. Words like magic can't die' kept repeating, making me think over and over, magic does die. It did for me. And, as I did on practically a daily basis, I sat down in the shelter of trees and cried.

Everything was set. In a matter of hours, Harry and another Order member - we were told it would be Hagrid - would be at the house. One of Andromeda's hairbrushes had been turned into a Portkey to transport them to the Burrow.

Dora looked faintly nervous as she stood by the doorway, preparing to join the Order at Number Four, Privet Drive. She would be transporting one of the fake Potters (others would be disguised as Harry through Polyjuice Potion and would be going to other locations in an attempt to distract any Death Eaters who were possibly keeping watch over the house) to another place in association to the Order. "Are you all right?" I asked her. "Y - yes, I'm fine," she stuttered. "You don't usually get nervous like this," I remarked. "It's not me I'm worried about ... it's everyone else ... " "Remus especially?" "Well, yeah. But we'll be okay. At least, I hope ... " Out of nowhere, a flash of silver streaked into the house and formed into a lynx. It was a Patronus, and it spoke in Kingsley Shacklebolt's voice. "We're all set." With great effort, Dora said, "Well, I should be off. Once we're to the Burrow, I'll send you a Patronus and tell you if we're all right." She turned and left. As the door shut, I walked over to the couch and plopped down on it, closing my eyes. The dangers of the world outside were getting so serious that desperate measures had to be taken every time. If Death Eaters attacked tonight, Dora could end up ... With a dreadful blast of realization, I thought of Theodore, high in the sky on a broom, chasing Harry and Hagrid to our home. If he saw Dora, would he attack her or spare her because of me? If he didn't attack, what would happen if the Death Eaters found out and he had been disloyal to them? "Lyra, she'll be all right. She's an Auror; she knows these things." It was Ted, standing over me as I sat on the couch. I nodded my head, but wasn't convinced. I was split down the middle again between dark and light. "What do we do now?" I asked weakly.

Ted sat down beside me and said, "We wait." The minutes crawled by. I had no idea how long I sat there with my eyes closed, trying to block out all of my recurring thoughts. Then a noise - like a loud crash - thundered from outside, startling me and making me jump. Ted sprang up from his seat and Andromeda hurried to the door frantically. I followed them up to the doorway, and watched as they shot outside toward the pond. A great dark shape was out there, but I couldn't tell what it was from my position. Then I saw Andromeda leading part of the dark shape up to the door. It was Hagrid. "H - Hagrid?" I spluttered as the two came inside. He was bleeding in several places and looked like several damaging spells had hit him. Andromeda led him inside and began to mutter spells to clean him up and heal his wounds. Then I looked outside and saw Ted carrying Harry in his arms. He appeared unconscious, but maybe he was just exhausted ... "He'll be all right," Ted said, answering the unasked question. "Something happened out there that shouldn't have, but we won't ask any questions until they've recovered a bit." He situated Harry on the couch. I prepared to shut the door, but before I did I looked up to the sky. Against the starry backdrop I could see a few dark figures floating around - Death Eaters? "Hagrid?" [*] The feeble voice came from Harry on the couch. "Hagrid's fine, son," [*] Ted told him, and began to explain that Andromeda was looking after him. That's when I noticed that they weren't in the room anymore. I sat down in the armchair opposite of Ted and Harry, hoping that soon he would get up and explain why he was in such a bad state. When he did, his words made my stomach flip-flop: "Voldemort - " [*] Ted pushed him back onto the cushions. I felt a twinge of annoyance - I wanted to hear what Harry had to say and ultimately find out if the others were hurt or not. It seemed that the Death Eaters had attacked after all. When Harry confirmed this as true, Ted said, "Death Eaters? What d'you mean, Death Eaters? I thought they didn't know you were being moved tonight, I thought - " [*]

"They knew." [*] I closed my eyes tightly again, blocking out their voices. They had been flying when the Death Eaters had attacked, so even if nobody was hit by a Killing Curse, they could have easily fallen to their death. "Harry, you said Death Eaters - " I was interrupted as Hagrid burst into the room. A look of relief spread across Harry's face. He hadn't heard me. I don't think he even knew I was there. I watched as Hagrid pulled Harry into a firm hug and was alarmed the next second when Harry shouted, "You!" [**] For an instant I thought he was talking to me, but then I saw him pointing to Andromeda, who was stepping into the room. I comprehended his accusation in a snap - for a moment he had believed she was Bellatrix. "What happened to our daughter? Hagrid said you were ambushed; where is Nymphadora?" [***] "I don't know," Harry admitted, causing a wave of terror to wash over me. "We don't know what happened to anyone else." [***] The three of us exchanged glances and for the first time Harry seemed to notice me. He looked surprised for a brief second before remembering the Portkey. Ted led the two down the hallway and into their bedroom where the hairbrush Portkey lay on a table. Before we reached the door, however, I couldn't resist asking ... "Harry!" I hissed. He turned around, startled, but I went on. "You didn't happen to ... er ... recognize any of the Death Eaters out there ... did you?" "No ... I was a little too preoccupied flying away from Voldemort." His tone was a tad defensive. Despair fell over me. With reluctance I added, "I mean ... you didn't see anyone like ... like Theodore Nott, for instance?" "Er ... no. I'm sorry; I have to go now." We had reached the bedroom and the Portkey was glowing blue. I left the room before they departed, feeling morose. If there was

even a tiny clue indicating that Theodore was okay, I would have felt much better. Instead, I glumly descended to the couch once more. Andromeda, noticing my distress, pulled me close and tried to comfort me. I wasn't the only one desperately worried for someone. For several minutes nothing happened. Then it appeared in the center of the living room: a silver whirl of something that formed into a werewolf: Dora's Patronus. The wolf spoke in her voice and said, "I'm at the Burrow. Everyone is here now. I'll be here for awhile but I'll come home later tonight. The Death Eaters attacked us. Somehow they knew we were moving Harry tonight. Remus and I are okay, but George Weasley lost an ear and Mad-Eye is dead. I promise to tell you more when we get home." The creature disappeared. End Notes: Sorry about the wait, guys. School gives me soooo much work. Don't ever take AP US History. Just don't. [*] Quotes taken from the American Edition of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, page 64 [**] page 65 [***] page 66 Back to index Chapter 46- Fallen by Lyra Lestrange ~Chapter 46- Fallen~ It was hard to believe Mad-Eye was dead. I had never known him very well, but he had always been a figure of strength to me. If it was Mad-Eye now, who was next? This was certainly not the first of the many dangerous Order tasks that would be carried out. But as always, other events went on. Dora and I had both been invited to the wedding of Bill and Fleur, and she insisted on going. She said it would be good for me to get out of the house for a while. I hoped she was right. It was the day of the wedding. Dora had forced me into a pair of her old dress robes, which were bright blue and not too extravagant, just how I liked them. Nevertheless, wearing dress robes did not suit my mood at all, and I went to the wedding wanting nothing more than to get it over with. Remus met up with us at the house and together the three of us

Apparated to the Burrow. Once there, we lined up outside a marquee entrance with a large group of people. I saw Ron, Fred, George (my stomach flipped when I saw his missing ear), and a curly-haired redheaded boy who looked like another Weasley. "Oh, that must be Harry," Dora said. "Arthur said he was here in disguise." Remus grunted in reply; I looked at him and saw that he was looking unhappy and down. We walked up in the queue; the Harry-indisguise greeted us and showed us where to go. As we walked to our seats, which were in rows of golden chairs, I looked around to see who was there. Ron, Hermione, Hagrid, the rest of the Weasleys, and several veela-looking girls stood out in the crowd. There was a face I hadn't been expecting. I pointed him out to Dora. "Look, Dora; there's Krum." "Krum? The Krum, the Quidditch player?" "Yes, look, he's over there. See him talking to Hermione?" "Oh ... yeah, that is him. Hey, Lyra, I'm going to talk to Mrs. Weasley. Stay here and I'll be back in a second. Come on, Remus." She walked off with Remus behind her. I was almost tempted to laugh. The fact that Krum was here had not affected her one bit. With longing I remembered the Quidditch World Cup three years ago, back when everything had been all right. Why couldn't it have stayed like that? It had been before Voldemort's return, when everything had been peaceful, calm, quiet ... the way I wished it was now. Three years ago had never seemed so far away. I realized that I was staring at the ground with my face in my hands; my elbows on my knees. I felt someone staring at me and looked up. Three of the veela-girls in the row in front were looking down at me with unreadable expressions. When they noticed me looking, they turned away quickly and began to whisper among themselves in French. I gave a huffy, annoyed sigh and leaned back in my chair with my arms crossed. Dora and Remus returned and the wedding began shortly after. I wasn't focused on the ceremonial words that linked Bill and Fleur together for life because I was thinking about the girls who had whispered about me. They weren't doing anything of the sort now in fact, they were wrapped up in the ceremony. After Bill and Fleur were officially linked, we were told to stand up.

The chairs vanished and the place turned into a dance floor. Tables and waiters with trays of food and beverages appeared. Dora turned to Remus. "Ooh, we should dance!" Remus looked reluctant but still walked to the dance floor with her. I left the area and sat down at a table, grabbing a pumpkin juice from a waiter. I sipped it slowly as I observed the area. For some reason, I didn't like what I saw. Like always, everything was too joyful. I questioned myself - was I so determined to allow any sort of light to be pushed away by darkness? Shouldn't I have enjoyed the wedding while it lasts? Well, there was no one for me to dance with and I wouldn't dance on my own like Luna Lovegood. I knew that if Theodore had been here with me, we would have danced, even though I was an awful dancer. The thought of him made my heart ache. As I was lost in thought, I saw the three veela-girls pass me. One of them leered; the other two looked frightened. They hurried away, whispering to each other again. "That's it!" I snarled to myself, startling the group of people at the next table. I nearly spilled my pumpkin juice as I stood up and hurried over to the girls with my wand out. They heard me approaching and spun around gracefully, though there was fear etched into their beautiful faces. One of them gasped and whispered something to the others in French. Fortunately for me, I had picked up some French from Dora when she had returned from a two-month trip to France for Auror training and had recently began studying it in-depth (alongside advanced Transfiguration, Muggle literature, wizard cuisine, Healing, and of course, Astronomy - there was little else to do with so much time on my hands and Andromeda had a library full of books at home). I pointed my wand at the middle girl's throat. "Parlez-vous anglais?" All three exchanged shocked glances. "Yeah, I speak a little French," I growled. "Big surprise, right? I heard you talking about me and I want you to know that if you have anything to say, you can say it without all the whispering. Go on." "No, no!" one of the girls cried. "Nothing!" I glowered at them, trying to decide whether I should leave, when a voice in the back of my head spoke.

"Leave them alone, Lyra." I gasped. The three girls jumped, but I ignored them. I spun around, looking for him, but he wasn't there. It must have been my conscience speaking to me ... but it had spoken in Theodore's voice. Slowly, I lowered my wand. "I'm ... sorry. I'll ... um ... leave now." I walked toward Dora and Remus, my thoughts perplexed. Why had I heard his voice? Dora switched her stare from Remus to me. She asked, "Is something wrong? You look upset." "I'm fine. I'm just ready to go home." "Well, I think we'll be leaving soon, so just - " She stopped unexpectedly and looked to where something bright and silver was appearing. It was that familiar lynx - Kingsley's Patronus. "What's going on?" Dora whispered quietly. "That's Kingsley's - " "Shhhh," Remus said softly. "Listen." Everyone was staring at the silver animal now, which began to speak. "The Ministry has fallen. Scrimgeour is dead. They are coming." [*] They are coming ... who were 'they?' The Death Eaters? The Ministry workers who were for Voldemort? I was immobilized as the scene around us changed. The Patronus disappeared and people began to scream and panic. Figures were beginning to Apparate everywhere, hooded figures in dark cloaks ... Something heavy knocked me to the ground before I was crushed into darkness. A second later I was on the floor of the living room at home with Dora next to me. "Dora - " "No time, I have to go back and fight!" "But wait - !" "No! I'll be right back, I promise!" She Disapparated just as Andromeda hurried into the room.

"Lyra, what's happening?" "I don't know, but Kingsley's Patronus said the Ministry had fallen and that Scrimgeour was dead ... " I trailed away. The Ministry, fallen, just as Andromeda had suspected.

Dora returned shortly after the attack and told us that they had evacuated everyone safely. Then time seemed to fly for the next few days as everything became darker and the Death Eaters took over more and more. Every day new guidelines were being issued in the papers. The Death Eaters had also taken over the Prophet. "It's terrible," Andromeda moaned, nearly sobbing one afternoon. "How - how are we going to - ?" She stopped; someone had knocked on the door. "Get your wand out!" she demanded. "It could be them!" I didn't hesitate for a second. We both walked to the door, expecting it to burst open and swarm with Death Eaters. But the voice on the other side was Ted's. "'Dromeda, it's me," he said. "Prove it," she said quietly but audibly. "I'm Ted Tonks, Muggle-born, married to Andromeda Tonks, father of Nymphadora Tonks - " "Anyone could give us that much!" I growled. "Give us real proof!" "My Patronus is a walrus, and I learned how to conjure one in my seventh year at Hogwarts. Andromeda taught me how." "It's him," Andromeda said as her trembling hands unlocked the door. Ted came in, pale and shaken, but happy nonetheless. "Wow, Lyra ... " he said. "For a moment I thought you may have been a Death Eater on the other side of the door!" But he caught the look on my face and, clearing his throat, said, "But anyway ... I'm afraid I have some bad news regarding our daughter." Andromeda's face went whiter than I had ever seen it go, and I had

seen her worry almost every day of her life. "Ted, w - what ... you mean Nymphadora? Is she all right? What happened?" "She's fine ... at least, I hope. I haven't seen her. No, I was talking about our other daughter." "M - me?" I asked, pointing to myself. "But I'm not - " "You're as good as, aren't ya?" he asked. "Lived with us for sixteen years ... but this is important. Look at this." He placed a copy of the Daily Prophet on the kitchen table and smoothed it out. At the bottom of the first page was a list witches and wizards wanted by the Ministry. Harry Potter was first, but the fifth person listed was ... "Me? But what did I do?" "That's the thing - we don't know. It appears the Death Eaters want you, though." "Oh, Lyra ... you must be terrified," Andromeda said as she pulled me into a hug. "I promise we'll protect you as best as we can. We'll put the Fidelius Charm on the house. You may not be able to leave for awhile - " "I'm not scared," I lied, interrupting her rambling. She released me and gave me an understanding but clearly concerned look. I broke away from her stare, not wanting my eyes to show my fear. "You realize what this means, though, don't you?" Ted asked. "Yeah," I groaned. "It means that if I'm caught anywhere outside this house, the Ministry will capture me and I'll be - " "No, not that. You can't return to school if the Ministry's after you. The Death Eaters will take over Hogwarts, too, I'm sure. But even if they don't, the Ministry will know you're there and they'll come after you." "Oh. That," I said. I had forgotten about returning to Hogwarts. It was going to be my seventh year, which was graduation year after all, and I did want to finish my magical education. I had never thought it would come to this. "Lyra, if this war ends, then - "

"Yeah, but that's a long way off, isn't it?" I snapped. "Honestly, I couldn't care less about returning to school. Let everyone else graduate and go off into the world to get good jobs and I'll just ... I'll just ... " "Lyra - " "No. Forget about it. Forget everything. I can't return to Hogwarts, and that's that! Why would I want to anyway? You said the Death Eaters are going take over the school like they are with everything else!" Andromeda and Ted exchanged dumbfounded expressions. I disregarded this and ran upstairs to my bedroom. End Notes: [*] Quote taken from the American version of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, page 159 I won't make any promises, but my goal from here on out is to submit a chapter every weekend. Back to index Chapter 47- Family Departing by Lyra Lestrange ~Chapter 47- Family Departing~ "Look at this!" Andromeda snarled one day, throwing a copy of the Daily Prophet on the kitchen table and spreading it out so furiously that she nearly ripped it in two. She was half-livid, half-worried as Ted and I hurried in from the living room. "What is it?" Ted asked, eyes glowing with anxiety. "This." Andromeda pointed to the headline, which plainly said that all Muggle-borns were being rounded up so the Ministry could register them and figure out how they came to have magical powers. "But ... what will happen if Muggle-borns don't present themselves?" I asked timidly. "It doesn't say," Andromeda said. Then, turning to Ted, she cried, "Oh, Ted, are you going to present yourself?" Ted looked thoughtful. "No. Dromeda, if I present myself there's no telling what will happen. I can go on the run-" "No!" Andromeda and I gasped simultaneously.

"I can take care of myself," Ted said. "And you'll be okay; you're pureblood." "But you can't! Ted, what will happen if ... if ... " Andromeda stammered, and instead of finishing her sentence she began to sob onto Ted's shoulder. Then the door opened and Dora came in, looking delighted as usual. Remus followed, but his face told that his emotions were the opposite of Dora's. In fact, he looked unwell. "Mum! Dad!" Dora yelled, running over to her parents. "Guess what? You won't believe - what's going on?" She stopped abruptly at the sight of Andromeda's anguish. "Have you heard about the Muggle-Born Registration Commission?" I asked her. "Oh ... yeah, I have. Dad, I'm sorry about that. Do you know what you're going to do?" "I think I'm going to go on the run," he answered. "But not for a bit. What's the news, Dora?" Her cheerfulness was back. Smiling hugely, she waved to Remus and said, "Come here!" He came reluctantly and stood next to her, looking awkward. Was it possible that whatever was making Dora so happy was causing Remus to be upset? Up close, he looked even more ill than he had upon first glance. "Go on, Dora," I said. "Tell us the news." "Okay. Mum, Dad, Lyra ... I'm going to have a baby!" The room went silent for a tiny second as the news sank in. Dora smiled at each of us. A second later, Andromeda was embracing her and saying the same words she had when the marriage was announced: "A baby! Oh, Nymphadora, how wonderful!" "That's great, Dora," Ted said. "But - the child - it won't be - will it?" He snuck a furtive look at Remus as he said this, which explained the look on Remus's face and Ted's uncertainty - would the child be a werewolf? Andromeda caught the look on Ted's face and looked at Remus timidly. I looked back and forth between each of them, trying to

read the looks on their faces. Dora's looked somewhat oblivious. The werewolf matter probably hadn't crossed her mind. "Remus, are you all right?" Andromeda finally asked. "Yes, yes ... and no. There's something I'd like to discuss with the three of you for a moment." He took at seat at the table. This would be more than just a simple discussion. The four followed suit. When I sat down, Remus gave me a look, clearly telling me to leave the room. "If this is concerning my family, I'm staying here," I told him defensively. Though he didn't look pleased, he looked away from me and toward Ted and Andromeda. "I was thinking that during her pregnancy, Dora should move back here," Remus told them. "Yes, that would be okay," Andromeda said, but she looked confused. "Why's that?" "Yeah, Remus," Dora said, looking shocked, confused, and a little hurt at his words. Surely he had discussed this with her already? But apparently not because she said, "Why would I need to move back in with Mum and Dad?" "Well, with the state the war is in right now, I feel like I'm needed out there more. I can't stay home all the time and watch Dora while the Order is already struggling so much. Harry, Ron, and Hermione are planning something, and I was thinking about joining them if they'll let me. It hurts me to do this, but I think it's for the best," Remus said, though to me he sounded very insincere. "So ... you're leaving me?" Dora squeaked, her voice tiny with pain. "No, I'm just going away for a bit. You'll be fine here with your parents. They'll take care of you." "But - " "It's for the Order," Remus said softly to her. "I knew you would understand." Understanding was the last thing in Dora's surprised, upset expression. She looked close to tears. "Remus, are you sure this is what you want?" Andromeda asked tentatively.

"It's for the best," Remus said plainly. To Dora, he said, "Is this okay with you? If it is, I'll leave now ... there's some business to take care of." "Remus, wait!" Dora cried, but he was already to the door. "Hold on," I said to her as I stood up from my chair and hurried over to Remus. "I'll find out what's really going on." Remus was already opening the door, but he stopped when he spotted me next to him. A flicker of annoyance passed across his face; I was sure he now regretted his decision to let me hear the conversation. "What is it, Lyra?" "Remus, why can't you stay with her? Don't you realize how much you've let her down?" He glanced at Dora sitting with her parents at the table. She looked as if she'd been stabbed in the heart. "Lyra, this isn't your business," he told me firmly. "Dora will be perfectly fine here. It's better this way. Don't ask why. I have to go now." He hurried out the door and closed it so forcefully he'd almost slammed it. I heard a pop; he had Disapparated. I cursed furiously under my breath as I walked back to the table to where the others sat wordlessly. "Well, Nymphadora ... " Andromeda said after several long seconds of silence. "You look tired. Why don't you get some rest upstairs? Your bedroom is just how you left it." "Which would be dusty and dirty," she muttered as she stood up and quickly ran out, undoubtedly to hide her tears. "Poor thing," Ted said. "Yes," I snarled, slamming my fist on the table. "What was his deal? He already broke her heart once and now he thinks he can do it again? Why does she always have to fall for idiots? I swear her hair is going to be brown by the time someone checks on her." "He'll come back," Andromeda said, but she obviously wasn't convinced. "After all, once the baby is born, he'll want to meet it ... "

I snorted. "Yeah, right. He didn't care about the child. You saw how upset he was when they came in!" "Then do you think ... that the child will be a werewolf?" Andromeda asked us. I shrugged. "Who knows? Remus thinks it will be, but what does he know?"

Things went downhill from there. Just as I had predicted, Dora's hair was now limp and brown again and she spent all of her time locked up in her room. On top of that, Professor Snape had been established as the new Headmaster of Hogwarts. "Snape!" I shrieked the day the newspaper arrived. "Well, now I'm glad I can't go back!" Andromeda read the article curiously as I thought about what this meant. It was the first of September; therefore the term had begun earlier that day. I thought of my old classmates traveling to Hogwarts and knowing the coming year would be nothing like it had been previously. Harry, Ron, and Hermione probably weren't going; Remus had said they were planning something different. Then I remembered Theodore, and figured he wasn't there either. Or was he? And what about Draco Malfoy? Had he gone back, or had Death Eater duties forced both of them to stay behind? Thinking of Theodore at the hands of Voldemort made me even more anxious, and I began to long for those lost evenings we spent on the grounds. I thought last year had been a nightmare, but look what was happening now! Everything got worse and worse ... And worse. After Ted's name was listed in the Prophet because he hadn't shown up to register as a Muggle-born, he decided that it was time to leave. It was a tearful goodbye. Ted stood at the door with his trunk packed full. Andromeda stood next to him, clinging onto him and weeping like I'd never seen her weep before. Dora stood behind him, also crying, silently, as she waited her turn to say goodbye to her father. "It's all right, Dromeda. I'll be back someday," he said, patting Andromeda awkwardly on the back. "But what if - what if they - Ted, we can hide you here!"

"No, we can't," he said flatly, though his eyes showed that he was troubled. He detangled himself from Andromeda's grasp and turned to Dora. "Goodbye, Dora," he told her. "I'm sorry I can't stay to take care of you and the baby." Dora nodded her head and wiped her eyes as Ted hugged her. A thought pierced me sharply-what if Ted never got to see his grandchild? I was beginning to tear up from all the emotion when Ted waved me over. I walked over to him slowly, trembling. He pulled me into a comforting hug and said, "I'll miss you, Lyra. No matter what you think, I've always thought of you as a daughter." "Thanks," I murmured quietly. "And I've always thought of you as a father ... figure." I was relieved when he released me. It was awful knowing that I might never see him again, and oddly that made me want to get out of his arms as soon as possible. I didn't want to face the fact of knowing everything could be the last. I couldn't push away the thoughts that Death Eaters would meet up with him. I tried, but quickly failed. "Goodbye, girls. I have to leave now," he said, and I was surprised to see that he sounded emotional too. He was probably only holding back tears to appear strong for us; to show us he could handle this next step. The moment he opened the door was the moment I wanted to run away to my bedroom, but I couldn't look away. I was rooted to the spot as Andromeda flung her arms around him and cried, "Oh, Ted! Please, please don't leave us!" "Got to. I'll be all right." Then, after she finally released him, he kissed her quickly on the cheek and walked out the door. As Dora and Andromeda watched him walk away, I bolted to my room. I would leave the two of them behind to comfort each other. I wanted to be alone. Why did this have to happen? Why did the Death Eaters have to take away everyone I loved?

The next several months crawled like they never had before. Every

second lasted an infinity when I was closed up in my room for hours - even days - at a time. It was obvious that the Prophet was not being accurate; therefore whatever was going on in the outside world was a mystery. I often wished I could be back at Hogwarts, even if it would be under Snape's rule. At least there I wouldn't be cooped up in my bedroom all the time with nothing to do. Being unable to leave the house was far more difficult than I thought it would be. The most disturbing thing was that I frequently saw figures on brooms flying around our house, and even though I was invisible to them, knowing they were searching for me was a terrifying thought. Dora and Andromeda couldn't leave the house either in case the Death Eaters caught them and tortured my whereabouts out of them. So far the Fidelius Charm had protected me, but there was no guarantee that it would hold forever. Since Dora couldn't do Order business, there were hardly any means of communicating with the outside world except through the Wizarding Wireless Network, but all of their stations were broadcasted by Death Eaters. Like the Prophet, they hid the truth. Then one day Dora said she had found a station that wasn't run by Death Eaters. A password was needed to get in, but she told us she had managed to figure it out. Excited, Andromeda and I hurried to the Wireless in her bedroom to listen. It was called Potterwatch and was broadcasted by Lee Jordan and the Weasley twins. Order members regularly came on to present real news. It was perfect, minus the fact that Remus was heard on it sometimes. "I wonder where he is," Dora would murmur. "I guess he really has left me." I knew words couldn't describe how much she missed him, especially since he had left so quickly without warning and without telling her where he was going. Dora was also getting bigger and bigger, and it wouldn't be long before the baby came. Whether we would be able to get her to St. Mungo's was a different matter. Kingsley Shacklebolt was the only member outside the house who knew about the Fidelius Charm. We felt it was a good idea to let at least one Order member stay in contact with us, just in case it was necessary. But Kingsley never came over, which was a good thing, really. The less attention drawn, the less danger we were in. But one day in March (we had been stuck in the house for months), Kingsley Apparated directly into the house. I instantly knew that the situation was serious, based on his expression and the simple fact that he hadn't bothered to use the door or greet us at all. He had an

envelope of parchment in his hand, and I could sense that he dreaded delivering the words. "Kingsley?" Dora asked timidly. "Is - is something wrong?" "Yes," he said quietly. A shiver ran down my spine. Every time I had ever seen Kingsley, he had been calm and strong-looking. "What's going on? Does the Order need me? I can leave - " Dora began. "No," Kingsley said. "I'm afraid I have some ... bad news." The three of us - Dora, Andromeda, and I - looked at each other fearfully. Staring at Kingsley with wide eyes and a thundering heart, I waited. "I'm sorry to tell you this, but ... we found Ted traveling with Dirk Cresswell from the Ministry; Dean Thomas, a student; and two goblins named Gornuk and Griphook. Dean and Griphook appear to have escaped, but the others were killed by Death Eaters." I felt everything around me blur; my body went numb. Ted was dead. No - it was impossible! I was full of grief - so much grief that I was shaking with anger. The Death Eaters had murdered him after forcing him to leave. It wasn't fair that they were leaving Andromeda widowed, Dora fatherless, and me ... well, Ted was the closest thing to a father I had ever had. I stood up and glared at the floor. Dora and Andromeda were holding each other tightly and sobbing. As usual, I didn't want to join their mourning. I would leave them alone for the time being. "I have to leave now," Kingsley said. "I'm terribly sorry." Sadness showed on his face as he Disapparated. As soon as he did so, I left the room and headed upstairs, struggling with all my strength to hold back tears. Once I realized there was no reason to, I let it out. I heard another pop downstairs, despite my crying. I whipped out my wand and hurried downstairs. If the person downstairs was not Kingsley, he or she had somehow managed to break the Fidelius Charm's boundaries. Kingsley wouldn't have told anybody about us on purpose ... therefore someone must have tricked him into it ... a

Death Eater? Hurrying now, I turned the corner and rushed into the living room. Dora and Andromeda were still there, but now a newcomer stood in the middle of the room. I gasped; Dora and Andromeda looked up at him with identically astonished expressions. I had no idea how he had managed to get in, but I pointed my wand at him and growled with all the hate in the world, "So, you decided to come back after with everything you did? You're such a traitor!" Back to index Chapter 48- Nightmare Come True by Lyra Lestrange Author's Notes: Sorry about the wait, everybody... Enjoy this chapter! It's major! Probably my favorite one besides 'Realizations.' ~Chapter 48- Nightmare Come True~ Who knew Remus would return? After giving him a piece of my mind, Dora had silenced me and demanded Remus tell us how he had managed to get into the house. He told us that Kingsley had told him about it, but only after he proved he wasn't an imposter and that he wanted to return to Dora. He had apologized over and over again, and Dora had forgiven him far too quickly for my liking. I was still fuming, especially since Remus had taken Dora back to their flat just like that as if nothing had ever happened. To top it off, they were no longer protected by the Fidelius Charm. It was a typical day, I supposed. The day after Remus's departure I was in the garden alone. I had gone as far as the Fidelius Charm allowed me to go without being seen. I was picking at my fingers and doing nothing else. I hated the way the sun beat down on the earth with such intense luminosity. It was too happy, too positive for my liking. I had felt angry, lost, miserable, and helpless since Kingsley had arrived with the news. I felt like a complete failure because now it was Andromeda's turn to mourn heavily, and I knew I should be comforting her. But it wasn't that easy - I missed him a lot too, and knew I wouldn't be any good at consoling. I also hated to see her break down like that because she was one of the few figures that kept me strong, but now with Ted gone, Dora pregnant and away, Remus out being the world's biggest idiot, and Andromeda in constant emotional breakdowns, I felt like there was no one there to protect me. And that was when I finally realized that I had to stand

on my own from now on. I flicked a rock across the yard angrily as I thought, it's all his fault! Everything that's happening is Voldemort's fault! Why do things have to be this way? Fury was taking control again and I lost all sense of self-control as I began to talk out loud. "I hate him! If Voldemort thinks he's doing - " I stopped immediately and gasped. I had said his name! The one piece of useful information Remus had shared with us was that Voldemort's name was now tabooed. Anyone who said it was immediately tracked down and captured. And so, a second later, a circle of wizards had surrounded me with their wands pointed. My heart drummed in my chest as I took deep breaths. Snatchers! "Who we catch now?" one of them asked. "A girl! Oo is she? Check the list, ya brainless lump! We may've caught someone impor'ant!" "Na way ... she can' be ... can she?" I refused to look at them. One of the men approached me with a packet of parchment, and through the hair curtained over my face I could see that my face was printed on the showing page. I used all my willpower trying not to gasp again. "Look at me!" the Snatcher exclaimed. "Look ere!" Unwillingly I did, and his eyes widened in extreme delight upon seeing my face. He smiled broadly, showing yellowed teeth, and said, "We caught er! We caught the Lestrange girl!" How was I going to escape? These men didn't look very smart or talented, but I was outnumbered. As soon as I attacked one, the rest would shoot spells at me. Then again, maybe it was my only hope. Though I hated to think about it, let alone use it, the Cruciatus Curse could cause one enough pain to the point the others would flee out of fear. It was my only hope. "Crucio!" The Snatcher closest to me fell over and squirmed in pain. I removed the curse and looked at the others, hoping they would

Apparate away, but it was wishful thinking. I saw a few of them laugh, which made me burn with anger and embarrassment. "She thinks she can play wit us, does she?" one of them roared. "The Dark Lord knew she would do exactly that!" Glaring, I pointed my wand at him and got ready to cast the spell again, but I stopped when I heard someone call my name. "Lyra? Lyra! What's going on out here? Who are these people?" It was Andromeda's panicked voice. She was running across the yard toward us, eyes huge with terror. "Who are they, and how did they find you?" "Andromeda - " "Stupefy!" One of the wizards had shot her to the ground. She fell and tried to get up, but the wizard made his wand bind her with ropes. He laughed and said, "Finding you was easy! We found that werewolf guy - Lupin, I think - and managed to torture your location out of him! The Fidelius Charm is broken, sweetie. You're no longer protected." Though I was infuriated at Lupin for foolishly getting caught, there were more important things to think about. Andromeda was struggling on the ground, and there was no telling what the Death Eaters might do to her. "Don't hurt her!" I exclaimed. "This is perfect!" said a wizard. "Listen, little Lyra Lestrange, we won' hurt your auntie if you come wit us. The Dark Lord wants you alive, but we don' care bout anyone else. Let us take you, an' we'll let your auntie go." I ran to Andromeda and the wizard who had her tied up. The fear and alarm in her eyes made my guilt double. Everything was my fault. "Andromeda ... I'm sorry, I said his name! I didn't mean to, and now I guess I have to ... pay the price." "Lyra, no! You don't have to go! We can fight them off!" "We're desperately outnumbered! I'll go wherever they're taking me, and ... you just ... find some place safe to hide!"

"Lyra, no! I lost Ted already; I can't lose you too!" "I know Ted's gone, which is why I have to leave to save you! I can't let both of you die if I can help it!" Afraid though she was, understanding appeared in her eyes. "V - very well ... go ahead ... and be sure to protect yourself ... " "I'll try," I said tearfully. What if this was the last goodbye? I had no idea where I was going, other than it involved Voldemort. The Snatchers did say he wanted me alive, but what if that only meant for the time being? Was I walking straight into Voldemort's clutches - or in other words, walking straight to my death? "Come on, missy. We're taking you to the Malfoy Manor." Malfoy Manor! Maybe, if I were tremendously lucky, Narcissa would allow me to be spared! It was my only hope, microscopic and unlikely as it was. "Goodbye, Andromeda. I'll ... take care ... " And then I felt someone yank my arm and pull me into pressure and darkness. When we emerged, I was only with two Snatchers ... ... And we were in front of the gates leading to the manor. I stepped forward with them as the gates admitted us. When we reached the door, one of the Snatchers knocked on it and yelled, "We got someone!" The door swung open, revealing a zealous-looking Lucius Malfoy. Excitedly he said, "Who? Who did you get? Is it Potter?" "No, but it's almos' as good as! We got the Lestrange girl!" Malfoy's eyes enlarged when he gazed upon me. "You're right! It is Lyra! Bring her in while I call the others! Narcissa! Bella! Come and see who the Snatchers caught!" Two women that I recognized far too well rushed out of a room and over to Lucius. When Narcissa saw me, her face widened in shock, but when Bellatrix saw me, she looked genuinely pleased as she smiled that evil, wicked smile. I glared at her while struggling to break free of the Snatchers. Bellatrix began to laugh and said, "This is great. I'll call him myself. He shall be pleased to see who the Snatchers dragged in!"

"Let go of me!" I bellowed. "Crucio!" The Snatchers let go, one from being tortured, the other out of fear of being cursed next. For once I didn't feel bad about attacking them with the illegal spell - it was self-defense, right? "You may leave now," Lucius told the Snatchers. "Thank you for bringing her, but we no longer have use for you." The Snatchers nodded their heads and left the manor. I glared into the faces of Bellatrix, Lucius, and Narcissa and snarled, "What do you want from me?" "It's not us who wants you," Narcissa explained. "It's the Dark Lord. He's been after you for a long time." "What does he want me for? I'm only - " "Seventeen, yes," Bellatrix said, smirking. With a jolt, I noticed she was pulling the sleeve of her robe over her wrist. Had she really just summoned Voldemort? "And for someone your age, you have far more magical talent than you should. He knows all about you, and " CRACK. The unmistakable sound of someone Apparating into a distant room was heard. I jumped as Bellatrix smiled evilly. "That must be him. Follow me, Lyra." I followed grudgingly, but I was more panicky and fearful than I had ever been in my entire life, however short it was going to end up being. Lucius and Narcissa trailed behind me. Bellatrix opened a door, not bothering to conceal her enthusiasm. I wasn't sure why she was so excited, though. All I knew was that I was scared beyond anything imaginable, mainly because Voldemort was in the next room. When the four of us entered the room - a kitchen - it took every fiber of my being not to gasp out loud. My heart missed a beat when I saw the red-eyed snakelike man sitting in one of the chairs, eyes glaring venomously. I felt faint and vaguely noticed anyone at the table of Death Eaters except for the one man I glimpsed clearly from the corner of my eye: Rodolphus. "Yes, Bella? I thought I told you not to call me for anyone except Potter!"

It was the first time I had ever heard Voldemort's voice, and it was surprisingly high-pitched. Bellatrix took no notice of his snappish tone and said as she beamed, "My Lord, we have Lyra! We have my daughter; she's right here! You said you wanted her?" "Yes, Bella, I did ... but I was on an important mission abroad ... surely this could have waited until I got back here?" Bellatrix was lost for words. Someone took advantage of the silence to speak, and when I heard that all-too-familiar voice, my astonishment doubled and I nearly passed out again. "Lyra?" I gasped; Voldemort hissed, "Silence!" I snuck the tiniest of glances to my right and saw him. He was standing up and staring at me with round, wide eyes, afraid for me. For a moment, it was as if everything else in the room paled and he was the only image I could see. "Theodore?" "I said, silence!" Voldemort was glaring at me through red slits, and I was brought back to reality. "Miss Lestrange," he began, "do you know why you are here?" "N - no, sir." "Do not address me as sir. You refer to me as the Dark Lord and address me as 'my lord.'" "Y - yes, m - my lord." "Now, your mother here tells me that her daughter has extraordinary magical talent." I snuck a furtive look at Bellatrix. She was beaming with tears of joy and pride in her eyes. "But she doesn't - " "You don't think she knows you," Voldemort said, and I felt like he could read my thoughts. "But you would be surprised. She knows

you can cast a Cruciatus Curse better than most - if not all seventeen year olds. I had the Snatchers bring you here so that I could see this so-called talent. That is what I want you to show me right now." "Yes, m - my Lord. But who should I - ?" "Wormtail!" Voldemort barked, and a tiny, dirty man stood up. I recognized the rat-like features that belonged to Peter Pettigrew. "Stand up and allow this girl to show us what she can do." Wormtail stood up, trembling with terror. I pulled out my wand and pointed it at him, hating that I had to cause pain on such a pathetic, helpless little man. Then I remembered who he was. Peter Pettigrew, the one who had been Sirius's best friend! He had betrayed the Potters, leaving them to be killed and Sirius to be mistakenly blamed! He was, in many ways, responsible for everything. My fury grew with each second I stared at him. Showing no mercy, I cried, "Crucio!" Wormtail fell to the floor with a high-pitched squeal, and the memories of Sirius that poured into my head intensified the pain I inflicted. This curse was for my cousin to the very end. "That's enough," Voldemort said, and I ended the spell. "You definitely have talent. Now let's see what you know. You are just the person I need to find out secrets about the Order of the Phoenix. You haven't been trained to know Occlumency, have you?" "Occ - Occlu what?" I attempted to say, though not much sound came out. "That's all I needed to hear. Obviously they didn't feel the need to teach you that, now did they? I guess they didn't think someone like you would be a threat to their side. It appears they were wrong. Now, Lyra ... you're just the person I need to find out every secret about that Order. Severus could only find out so much, you see? Once he killed Dumbledore, he could no longer find out what the Order was up to. But you ... you, on the other hand ... " "I would die before giving you the Order's secrets! But I don't know any because I've been locked up in my house for three months. If you thought making me an Undesirable was smart because you could get to the Order, you messed up big time!" Voldemort glared at me as Bellatrix yelled, "How dare you talk to him like that!"

"Now, now, Bella," Voldemort said calmly, "she is new to this, remember? But Lyra, I have no intention of killing you. You could be very useful to us, yes ... " "I would never betray the Order!" I was breathing heavily. Beside me, I could tell Bellatrix was getting wound up again. I didn't care; I would fight if I had to and die if it came to that. It would be better for me to die, I realized, and have my secrets die with me than to let Voldemort get hold of them and possibly use them against the Order. The outcome of the war ... did it currently rest with me? If I had to die, it would be for a good cause, and I could go nobly. "The Order hasn't been up to anything," I lied. "They think they're fighting a losing battle. Most have given up already." "Such lies!" Voldemort hissed. "Legilimens!" I didn't recognize the spell he had cast, but it only took me a second to realize that he was seeing into my mind. Visions of the Order were forcing their way through my head, but something at the back of my mind was saying, block it out ... block it out ... Voldemort ended the spell. He was livid, fuming with anger because he couldn't get to my visions. If Occlumency meant blocking out your thoughts, I was a natural at it. "Fine!" he snapped. "Perhaps I'll just dispose of you myself! It appears that you won't be any use to us." "No!" I yelled, but no sound came out. However, I still heard someone shout. My heart skipped another beat when I saw that it was Bellatrix. "Yes, Bella?" Voldemort asked, still flaming. "You saw her curse. She could be of great use to us!" Voldemort fumbled with his wand in his fingers thoughtfully. I knew there was no way out. Why would he possibly spare me? For Bellatrix? He didn't care about her. There was no other way to prove myself, though. I had done all that I could. "Very well," he grumbled, making me nearly pass out from alarm again. "You may stay here with us and I will initiate you into the Death Eaters. If you refuse, your other choice is death. You may never go back to where you came from. Once you are a Death Eater, you serve me for life." It was right to refuse and die boldly, but I was afraid of dying. I knew

it would be easier to die painlessly than to go through the torment of being a Death Eater. However, I felt that dying was the easy way out, and something else overpowered that: the people I would hurt, however few there were. I knew Dora and Andromeda would miss me terribly. On the other hand, if I allowed Voldemort to kill me, I would get to see Ted and Sirius again. But how could I let Voldemort get the better of me? There was still another person worth living for, one who was right in this very kitchen. His words-the ones he had spoken in the hospital wing last year-came back to me: "Don't worry. This war will be over someday, and we'll be together." If I stayed, we would be together again, even before the war was over. It took all my spirit to say straight to Voldemort, "Okay. I'll join you." Several Death Eaters gasped and I saw Theodore's expression turn to one of complete astonishment. I only caught a glimpse, though, because a second later I was smothered by Bellatrix. She had drawn me into a massive hug and was squeezing the air out of me. "Lyra, I knew you would make the right choice!" she exclaimed, and I could tell she was crying with delight again. "I'm so proud of you! Do you realize that - ?" I pushed her away with as much force as possible. "Get off me." She looked appalled, but I didn't care. Ignoring her, I turned to Voldemort and said, "What do you want me to do?" "A ceremony is in order. Come." I didn't have to do anything; with a lazy flick of his wand I was being forced to follow. He led me to another room in the house. Though I had been here once before, this room was very different from the one I had previously visited. Instead of being decorated in warm brown colors, this one was completely silver and green with green candles held in serpent-shaped holders. The room was also drafty and cold. I shivered as Voldemort released the spell that had forced me to trail him and I crumpled to the ground. He sat down in an old green chair and said, "Kneel in front of me." I did as I was told. While he was only a few feet above me, he seemed to be much, much higher. He lifted his wand and pointed it at my head.

"Miss Lestrange, do you promise to do your duty as a Death Eater, even if it costs you your life?" "Y - yes, my lord." "Then now, I shall brand you with the Dark Mark." I tried not to gasp, but I was extremely close to hyperventilating. My heart was racing faster than it had ever before, and I felt like I would faint again. I had entirely forgotten about the Dark Mark! How bad would it hurt? After all, he was burning it into my skin! "Give me your wrist." I gave him my right wrist, the one that always hurt when Death Eater activity was going on. He took it in his spidery, white fingers that were as cold as ice. I shuddered unthinkingly. He raised his wand and touched it to my skin, and I expected the pain to come, but nothing happened. He released the wand where it balanced upward. Then, with just the movement of his hand and fingers, he directed the wand to draw the shape into my arm. Then the pain came, millions of times worse than a typical burn because of the Dark Magic he was using to inflict it. It took everything I had not to flinch or cry out. It was pain beyond belief, but if I showed any sign of weakness, I knew he would kill me in an instant. This was far worse than the occasional twinge in my wrist that indicated the Mark had been touched. I then realized that I would never feel that again; I would feel the real thing. It took me more than a few seconds to realize his wand had retreated from my wrist. I looked at the new Mark, shining red against my inflamed skin. My wrist was on fire; I felt as if the pain would never subside. "Now come! Follow me!" He led me once again with his wand and took me to the kitchen. Once we opened the door, he announced to the Death Eaters, "The rest of you will watch over our newest member. I must leave now." He released the spell and I fell to the ground once more. Then he Disapparated, and I was left lying on the floor, clutching the sleeve of my robe as tightly as I could. "Lyra, stand up." It was Bellatrix's voice, but she wasn't being harsh. Glaring at her, I pulled myself to my feet. She motioned for me to follow. I didn't

want to obey, but the last thing I wanted was for the other Death Eaters to see me struggle with the pain. Mostly I didn't want Theodore to see me like this. "How does it hurt?" "How do you think it hurts?" I snarled, still gripping my wrist. "You'll get over it," she told me coldly. "Eventually you won't regret this decision." I said nothing. "Here's where you'll be staying." She thrust a bedroom door open. Inside there was a single bed, mirror, and dresser. Though there were a few eerie green serpent candles, the rest of the room was decorated in golden-brown. Bellatrix left without any other words. I was glad to see her leave. I pulled back my sleeve to observe my wrist. It was still swollen, but at least some of the pain was leaving. Across the room was a mirror. I glimpsed at it and caught the sight of my reflection. My heart skipped a beat. I walked over to the mirror to take a closer look. It had been so long since I had seen my reflection. I didn't recognize the girl staring back at me. My hair had grown longer and was fragmented at the ends. My skin, which was naturally pale, had become even whiter from being out of the sunshine for months. I had always been skinny, but now I was unhealthily thin. Like all Death Eaters, my face was gaunt and sunken. How would I look after serving the Death Eaters? How could I look any worse than I already did? I was brought back to reality when someone knocked softly on my door. Without waiting for a reply, the person opened it and walked in. It was Theodore. He didn't say a word, just drew nearer and pulled me close to him. For what seemed like several minutes, we simply stood there. Finally he released me, and I felt my eyes overflowing with tears.

"I never should have left you," he whispered. "It's not your fault," I whispered back. "But if I had stayed - " "Don't blame yourself; it's not your fault!" He stopped talking. We stared at each other for a minute or so. Then he said, "Did he really do it?" I held up my wrist, pulled back my sleeve, and revealed the blazing Mark that had been etched into my flesh. His face filled with rage as he gently took my wrist and examined it, but not even his soft touch made it feel better. "I can't believe this. How - how did they find you?" "I said his name," I told him quietly, ashamed of my own stupidity. He shook his head and pulled out his wand. "Here. This will help." He muttered a charm under his breath, one I didn't recognize, and I felt something invisible but icy cool touch the burn mark. It pain began to ease. "Thanks," I said softly. "It's the least I could do after everything you've been through. You know, I never forgave myself for leaving you. I wanted to send you an owl or ... give you some sort of sign that I was okay and that I still ... love you ... " "Don't be so hard on yourself." Another thought struck me, so I asked, "I take it that you are a Death Eater now? Do you have the Mark too?" He shook his head slowly. "No. I'm not an official Death Eater. I'm like Narcissa in the sense that I just tag along. The Dark Lord doesn't think I have what it takes to be one. I don't mind, really, but it's no fun being stuck here all the time. I don't have anywhere else to go, though. All the Death Eaters relocated here, and my father made me stay. I told him I could leave and live on my own but he gave me a flat-out no." I didn't say anything, just nodded my head. I was faintly aware of the tears that were now cascading down my cheeks. As I stared out the window at the starry sky, I felt him pull me close again. I accepted it gratefully; it was almost worth everything I had just experienced to be back in his arms once again.

"You know," I said through my tears, "we never really broke up. You just said you had to leave." "You're right," he murmured quietly. Then he leaned in and gently pressed his lips to mine. Everything that came next was a blur. I temporarily forgot where I was; all I knew was the warmth of his body close to mine, his soft lips against my mouth, his love for me that obviously had never died in our months apart. Maybe everything was worth it. I couldn't feel any pain in my wrist anymore. Maybe as long as I was close to him, nothing would hurt. When the door was thrust open with a bang, we separated instantly and released each other. I felt all warmth vanish and all agonizing pain return. I was incased in malignant shadows that I would never be able to break away from, now that my one means of escape had been snatched. I didn't want to see who had entered without knocking, but I saw a flash of black and blonde from my peripheral vision - Bellatrix and Narcissa. "Theodore?" Narcissa asked timidly, as if she was trying to ignore the scene she had intruded upon. "We're going to eat now." He gave a single nod and walked out without looking at me. Narcissa closed the door and left me with Bellatrix. I did my best to disregard her as I took a seat on the bed. I wasn't going to say a word. I would let her speak first. "What was that about?" her tone was plain, not accusatory or snappish. "We went out," I answered flatly. "Last year. He's the only reason I stayed here instead of letting Voldemort kill me." "The only reason? What about your father and me? And the rest of your family? They're all here." I snorted. "Some family. And why would I stay here to be with you? You never cared about me and you know it. From the moment you tortured the Longbottoms, your path was set. That's final. Now I'm stuck here with this stupid scar imbedded into my wrist for the rest of my life. There's no going back, just like you can't go take back those fourteen years in Azkaban." "You ungrateful little - " "Yeah, that would be me." "Your father and I - "

"Why even speak of him? Do you even care about him anymore? Do you even love him anymore?" "Of course I love him, he's my - " "But you love someone else now, don't you? Why do you want to be so close to Voldemort?" "Don't you dare call him that! From now on you shall refer to him as the Dark Lord, your master! If he finds out you're saying his name like that - " "Well, tell him! Press your precious little Mark and call him to tell him that I disgraced his name! Then allow yourself to suffer his wrath, because he said he was completing some sort of task abroad, and when he comes and finds out that the only reason you called was to tell him that, you may as well consider yourself dead!" "Lyra Columba, I will not tolerate this! How dare you talk to your mother like that?" I gave an angry laugh. "And since when do I have a mother?" She glared at me with all hatred and walked out, slamming the door so hard it rattled the candles in their serpent holders.

There was only one plus to becoming a Death Eater, though it was a definite plus: being with Theodore again. We spent whatever time we could together, often in the Malfoy's library, reading about defensive magic and spells in books that would have never appeared at Hogwarts. Yet some of them were so gruesome that I eventually just had to put them down. The worst time was when I found a book on nothing but snakes, snakes, and more snakes, explaining how they were used in the Dark Arts. The pictures made me feel like serpents were crawling all over me, which brought me back to the memories of my recurring nightmare. I slammed this book shut and squeezed my eyes shut, attempting to block out the visions of my dream. But the glowing green snakes brought a new sight to my head: the Dark Mark in the sky, glowing emerald just like the snakes. With a gasp, I opened my eyes. Theodore looked up from the book he was intensely wrapped up in and asked, "What's wrong?"

"I get it now!" I exclaimed. "The snakes - my dream - my boggart! They're green like the Dark Mark, and they trapped me, held me down like the Snatchers and Death Eaters did when I was caught! And the giant snake - that must have been Voldemort! He 'ate' me by taking me in as a Death Eater! The snakes were only a metaphor - they represented the Dark Side and how I would be pulled into it! It wasn't just a dream, it was a prophecy!" Theodore looked at me thoughtfully. "You have to be right," he said. "It does make sense. You're not a seer, are you? Because most people's dreams don't come true." "No," I said darkly, all enthusiasm for cracking the code gone as a shadow of realization hit. "My dream didn't come true. My nightmare came true." End Notes: I hope nobody hates me too much now... Back to index Chapter 49- The Life Lost by Lyra Lestrange ~Chapter 49- The Life Lost~ After only three days of being cooped up in the Malfoy Manor, it was apparent that I needed the clothes that were miles away at home. The robes I had come in with were torn and ripped along the seams from the fight with the Snatchers; as a result I could no longer wear them. I also had no sort of clothes to sleep in (I refused to wear Narcissa's old nightgowns due to the fact that I couldn't breathe in them). However, obtaining new clothes seemed impossible. Theodore made me tell Bellatrix, and her response made my blood turn to ice. "Well, you do need new robes - Death Eater robes. You'll also need a mask." Once I got past the menacing burn on my wrist, the fact that I was a Death Eater really didn't mean anything. If Voldemort wasn't abroad on some unspecified mission, then things would be different. I would actually be serving him instead of doing nothing of importance around the house. Still, I was a Death Eater and there was no denying it. So when Bellatrix said this, I stammered, "D - Death Eater robes? Where do I get those?" "Diagon Alley, of course," she snapped with impatience. "Someone will escort you there."

"You mean I can leave the house?" I asked stupidly, feeling embarrassed when she began to laugh. "Of course you can. But you shouldn't go out alone. I'll have someone go with you. Lucius!" she barked. Lucius Malfoy, who was across the kitchen, turned around, not hiding his annoyance. "What is it, Bella?" "Take my daughter to Diagon Alley," she commanded. Lucius looked like he was struggling not to roll his eyes with difficulty. "Can't you take her?" "I suppose I could ... " she thought out loud. "I - I could go myself," I suggested, but I knew what the answer would be. "No! You'll only try to escape! Lucius will take you!" "I will take her." Surprised by this new, slightly familiar voice, I looked over and saw Rodolphus standing up from the table. I looked at him in misunderstanding while his eyes flickered from Bellatrix to me, his expression unreadable. Bellatrix looked just as confused, but she said, "Very well. Rodolphus, take her now." "Right - right now?" I asked. "Yes, right now!" Bellatrix exclaimed. "Go on!" I didn't say another word, but hurried out the door. Theodore followed (he had been standing behind me the whole time). I was also aware of Rodolphus behind us. He followed us out of the kitchen and shut the door behind him. "Well ... " he stated gruffly, "We should go. Side-Along Apparition." "Wait, Mr. Lestrange," Theodore said politely, addressing my father like a figure of high authority. "Would you mind if I went too?" Rodolphus narrowed his eyes. Hesitantly I squeaked, "Please?" I tried to keep the desperation out of my voice. This trip would be so much better if Theodore went as well.

"I suppose," Rodolphus said. "Come on, then." He grabbed me; I braced myself for a rough pull, but his grip was actually far gentler than I was expecting. Theodore and I locked arms and the three of us Apparated through the dark void... I nearly fainted upon seeing Diagon Alley. It had morphed into a street beyond anything imaginable. It appeared that every shop except for Gringotts was boarded up, and new shops selling nothing but Dark Arts-related items were the only places in business. "Where do we go?" I asked anxiously. "The robe shop," Rodolphus said. "But Madam Malkin's is ... " I trailed away. I didn't want to be laughed at again for stating something that was obvious to everyone else. But neither of them laughed. "Us Death Eaters have our sources," Rodolphus said. "I know where to find your robes." He took the lead and began to walk toward the shop that used to be Florean Fortescue's. I glimpsed at Theodore and was almost comforted to see that he was just confused as I was. Quietly I asked, "Do you have any idea where we're going?" "Not exactly," he whispered, and pulled me close to his side. "Don't worry. Everything will be all right." I wasn't really convinced. Nonetheless, when Rodolphus turned the corner, I followed anyway. In a split-second I knew where we were going: Knockturn Alley, the street behind Diagon Alley where all the Dark Arts shops were. This place was hardly any different though Diagon Alley practically was Knockturn Alley from what I could see. "Here we are," Rodolphus said. He stopped outside a robe shop down the street and opened the door. Before I walked in, I observed the store. It was almost pitch-black inside and a chilly breeze drifted in our direction. The black gloom disappeared to an extent when we walked inside. At least I could make out some of the surroundings. There weren't many. The store was mostly a tiny, empty room with no merchandise. There was a counter with a cash register near the door, but nobody appeared to be there. I was afraid to ask any questions. Rodolphus didn't say a word. He stepped over to the counter and did something there with his wand,

but the darkness prevented me from seeing his action. I looked up at Theodore again and saw that his face was fixed with even more perplexity. Several seconds later, a dark shape turned seemed to emerge from the shadows. I gasped as I realized that there actually was a person at the counter-he had just been turned around. Underneath a black hood was a pure white mask that covered half this man's face. He glared at Rodolphus and asked, "What do you need?" "Death Eater robes for our new member," he said with a hint of hate. Was it this man he disliked? Or the shop? I didn't know. "Which would be?" the man growled, sounding sinister. "My ... daughter." He motioned me forward, so I wandered up to him cautiously. Every footstep was an extreme effort. Theodore walked beside me, refusing to let go. The man's eyes traveled from me to Rodolphus and back again. Grunting, he took out his wand, flicked it lazily, and caused a tiny, dark tape measure to appear. It began to measure me on its own. After a minute or so, it flew back behind the counter. "Very well," the storekeeper said. He waved his wand again and a cloud of purplish-black smoke engulfed my hands. Though I was startled, the smoke was gone before I could gasp and was replaced with six black robes. "That will do," Rodolphus said as he slapped a few Galleons onto the counter. "I can pay - " I started to tell him, but stopped when I realized I had no money whatsoever. It, like everything else I owned, was back at home. "Let's go," Rodolphus growled. It was obvious that he wanted to get out of this store just as much as I did. "Wait," said the man at the counter. "I believe you're forgetting something." "I already gave you the money," Rodolphus hissed. "You've forgotten about the other piece of Death Eater attire. The mask."

Rodolphus sighed heavily. "Yes, the mask. Lyra, go up there and get your measurements for that." I was surprised at how casually he said my name. I broke away from Theodore's hold on me and went to the counter. The tape measure began measuring my head. The man repeated the process. In another puff of smoke, a heavy silver object weighed down my hands. I stared at it, already loathing it. Rodolphus threw some coins onto the table aggressively and walked out. Nobody said anything else. Back in the alley, I followed Rodolphus but stayed a good distance behind him. Theodore was at my side again and was also carrying my new robes. Though I didn't say anything, I secretly wished he was carrying the mask instead and left the robes for me. I didn't have a huge problem with the robes because they looked like general school robes. Rodolphus stopped. He turned around and faced the two of us with a thoughtful look on his face. He said, "We're really not in any hurry to get back. Do you two want to get some ice cream before we Apparate back to the manor?" I nearly fainted. The fact that things like ice cream even existed in the world that we lived in now was impossible to believe. How could an ice cream parlor even exist in Knockturn Alley anyway? "I - ice cream?" "Yes, ice cream. Frozen stuff, they put in it a cone," Rodolphus said. He wasn't mocking me or trying to be humorous, though. His voice was as dull as ever. "We should get some," Theodore said. "I can buy yours, Lyra." "Um ... well, okay. Thanks. I guess." "Right, then," Rodolphus muttered as he turned around and headed for one of the stores. There was no sign out front but this was obviously the place - it was the only building on the street with tables outside. "Mr. Nott," Rodolphus said, "would you be kind enough to go inside and get it?" "No problem," Theodore answered. "What kind would you like?"

"I don't want any, but perhaps you should ask your girlfriend." "Lyra?" Theodore inquired. I shrugged. "I don't really have an appetite." "Get her whatever kind you get," Rodolphus told Theodore, pulling out a chair and preparing to sit. "Here's some money. Pay for your ice cream as well as hers." He handed him a few Sickles. "But I don't want - " "Fine, I'll get you Cockroach Cluster," Theodore joked. I didn't laugh. Once again I felt stunned. Like ice cream, jokes were something that didn't seem real anymore. I sighed. "Get me Chocolate Frog if they have it." Theodore gave me a small smile. "Chocolate Frog?" "Yes. And if they don't have it - " He kissed me quickly and lightly on the lips to interrupt me. "Every place has Chocolate Frog. I'll be right back." He dashed off and disappeared behind the door of the parlor. I stared at the door with a blank mind, but was brought back to reality when I heard Rodolphus speak. "Lyra." I turned around. He was sitting at the table and was motioning for me to sit on the opposite side. I hesitated. "Go on, sit." I pulled out the chair, which was disgusting and sticky with whoknows-what. I sat down, feeling repulsed when I saw the unclean table. "I know it's gross." Rodolphus had spoken again. I looked at him with wide eyes. I didn't like this place and I was not comfortable sitting down at the nasty table with nobody but him. I wished that Theodore would get out soon. "Give me your wrist, Lyra."

"W - why?" "Just let me see it." "You're not going to ... touch it, are you?" "The Mark? Of course not. Why would I want to summon the Dark Lord? No, I just want to see it." My arm trembled as I extended it to him. He took it in his grasp (once again I felt that unexplained gentleness) and pulled back the sleeve of my robe. I flinched and closed my eyes tightly. Looking at the thing made me feel the pain of getting it imprinted all over again. Before I knew it, he had dropped my arm. I pulled it back to my body and opened my eyes to see his expression. What I was astounded me-he was livid. Anger flared in his eyes as he glared at nothing in particular. He looked like Theodore had the other night, but with more intensity. "Is something ... wrong?" I asked. "Yes. Everything's wrong." "What do you mean?" "Lyra, brace yourself, because what I'm about to say isn't going to be a short story." "Okay ... " I was as confused as ever. I didn't know what he was about to tell me, but he seemed to be dying to say it. "Lyra, I know you hate me, and I can't say I blame you. I would hate me too if I were you. After all I've done, I even hate myself." I was surprised by the way he had jumped into the story, and even more surprised by his words. Yet I couldn't say anything, because deep inside I knew what he said was true. "I've been a terrible person. I regret everything I've ever done. It's my fault. Things could be so much different now if it weren't for my stupid mistakes. From the very beginning, I knew the consequences. I knew what would happen and yet ... well, it did happen. Did I care? Not at the time."

"I - I really don't understand what you're saying." "Then I will explain. Lyra, I know you loathe Bella, but you have to understand that she wasn't always like that. At one point in time-a point in time that was far long ago - we were in love." "I know," I told him. "I've heard." "It was my fault. Though Bella's parents really wanted her to join the Death Eaters, it was I who convinced her in the end. We were young, and it seemed perfect at the time. We would be carrying out exactly what our parents wanted. When we joined, it was perfect. We loved serving the Dark Lord. We felt that what we were doing was right and would always be right. But then something happened. Bella became pregnant with you." By now I was listening to every word he spoke with a vast amount of interest. Then I realized where his story was going, so I asked, "If she was pregnant, how could she serve the Dark Lord?" "That's what I'm getting to. The Dark Lord wasn't happy. He said her commitment - well, our commitment, really - was only to him. Purifying the wizard race was all that mattered. He tortured her for being unable to work for him-excuse the immodesty, but we were the best Death Eaters. I got my dose of torture too, but Bella was hit the hardest. She fought, though. She fought against him to protect you. Finally the Dark Lord gave in and decided to give her a break until you were born. Then she would have to return to working for him." I felt frozen. Imagining a Bellatrix who was willing to fight to protect me was difficult. I had to accept that things were different seventeen years ago, and that this had happened before my mother was sent to Azkaban. "So what happened next?" I asked. All previous feelings about my father had vanished for the time being. Right now all that mattered was that he told his story. "Then you were born. It was one of the happiest days of my life, especially at the time - you see, I was beginning to regret becoming a Death Eater, but I didn't dare tell Bella. She was so keen to serve the Dark Lord that she wanted to get your birth over with." "Sounds more like the Bellatrix I've met," I grumbled. "I know it doesn't seem like she ever cared about you," he went on. "But when you were born, she was happier than you could imagine. We had our hopes and dreams for you as well as the three of us as a

family. I wanted to be there for every important moment of your life. I wanted to see you go off to Hogwarts, graduate, get married ... you know. Bella wanted to see you grow up to become a Death Eater." "She got her wish," I groaned. "Yes, but it didn't go as planned, did it? Personally, I hoped you wouldn't join. I wanted to see you take your own path." "It sounds like you had a lot of wishes for my future from just the day I was born," I remarked. "Well, yes ... we did. And I might as well add that Bella gave you your name. She's always been a Black at heart and wanted to carry out family tradition." "I've ... always like my name," I told him with reluctance. The fact that Bellatrix came up with it didn't surprise me, and it really didn't make me dislike my name at all. "It's so much better than that Muggle name I used to have." "That brings me to the next event. It was about a year after you were born. The Dark Lord had fallen. Bella was distraught. She thought he was dead. I spent days convincing her he was still out there somewhere, though I only half-believed it myself. Deep down, I hoped he was dead, because we could stop being Death Eaters and raise you like normal parents would. But then my convincing backfired. I had given Bella so much faith that she decided to find the Aurors and find out for herself if the Dark Lord was dead. And I ... I was so stupid. I went with her." "The Longbottoms." "Yes. Bella rounded up my brother Rabastan and Barty Crouch, Jr. The four of us went and tortured them. Then, as you know, we were arrested. I couldn't believe it myself. I felt more terrible than I ever had before. I thought of you, alone in your crib at home. I felt sick thinking about how long you would be there until somebody came and sent you to another home. I was distressed thinking about you being raised by someone other than Bella and me. We were sentenced to a life in prison and I had to accept that I would never see you again." He was looking away from me, but I could still see his expression. His eyes were filled with grief and sadness. At that moment I knew he cared. He cared about me and he always had. He loved me and he always had. He missed me, he had missed being able to see me grow up, and he missed the life he had lost. The life we both had

lost. "We still got the Prophet in Azkaban," Rodolphus went on. "I read it every day in a hopeless attempt to find out what they had done with you, but there was never a report. Then Bella got a letter from Narcissa that said you had been sent to the Tonks family. This made Bella even more distressed, but I felt a sort of ... strange happiness. I knew that living with them would be good for you, even if you wouldn't grow up the way I wanted to raise you. I hoped - and knew - that you would be happy there, and it was a slight comfort to know you were being raised by a blood relative to Bella, even if her sister had been disowned. The only thing I truly despised was your renaming. I wanted to believe it was a good idea, but I hated the thought of you living as someone you weren't." "I hated it too," I told him. "I didn't know who I was. I couldn't be myself if I wasn't really ... me. I felt so many mixed feelings. I wanted to know my parents so I would know myself, but I also hated you ... I can't deny it. Really, I hated what you did. But on top of that was another feeling-I wanted to meet you, no matter how much hate I felt. But every time I got my wish, I realized it wasn't what I wanted." "I understand," he said. The strange thing about his every word was the fact that they were all completely sincere. "I guess what I'm trying to say, Lyra, is ... I regret every decision I made that forced our family into what we are now. What I'm really asking for is ... forgiveness, but only if you're willing. If you don't forgive me and never want to speak to me again, I understand that, too." I felt something hot against my face - tears, which were not unusual for me these days. I was crying because of everything that I had lost because of him (and Bellatrix too), but I wasn't angry for once. It was just hard thinking about the fact that they could have seen me grow up and we could have lived a normal life like a normal family. Though it was upsetting to think about, I knew what the answer to Rodolphus's request was. I couldn't blame him any longer, because he regretted his mistakes and had paid severely for them. "Lyra, I understand if you don't - " "No," I interrupted him, wiping the moisture from my face. "No. I - I forgive you. I can tell you've endured a lot. Thanks for telling me everything, Rodolphus ... I mean ... Dad." A light smile touched his lips. He got up from his chair and did the most unexpected thing - hugged me tightly in an attempt to comfort me. It only made me sob harder, but at that moment any previous hate for him had dissolved.

I heard the door to the ice cream parlor open, bringing me back to reality. "That must be Theodore," I murmured. Rodolphus released me. I looked to my left and saw Theodore leaving the building empty-handed. He was muttering furiously under his breath, and as he drew closer I heard, "That place was terrible! Nobody was working so I had to leave. I'm sorry, you two, but I think the place is closed. Wait ... Lyra, what the - what's going on?" I smiled, though my face was still wet with tears. "Nothing. I'm fine." He looked puzzled but didn't question me. "I'm sorry, Mr. Nott," said Rodolphus. "While I didn't mind you coming along, I needed some time to talk to my daughter alone." "Tricky," I muttered. "Nice diversion." Theodore looked irritated and said bluntly, "If you didn't want me around, I would have left without complaint, Mr. Lestrange. But it's fine. For some reason, I wasn't supposed to hear what the two of you were talking about. Are you finished or should I leave again?" "The three of us can head back," my father answered. "The others will be waiting. Let's go. And don't ... er, don't forget your robes, Lyra." "Oh! Yeah. Right." Unwillingly I grabbed the robes and mask off of my chair, half hoping that I could have forgotten them. Based on the look upon his face, Rodolphus felt the same. But once the robes were back in my arms, he turned away and prepared to Apparate. Theodore came up to me and whispered, "Are you going to tell me what happened while I was in the shop?" Keeping my voice low, I said with a smile, "I'll tell you the whole story later." Back to index Chapter 50- Betrayal by Lyra Lestrange Author's Notes: It's been a while. We're approaching the end of this long, long fic :) ~Chapter 50- Betrayal~ The look on Draco Malfoy's face when I showed him my Dark Mark was priceless and even made me laugh. It was the Easter Holidays

and he was at home for the break. I wasn't pleased to see him arrive at the house, but when he saw me, I decided to have some fun (Merlin knows I needed some fun). His mouth dropped open when he saw me, and he stood next to his dad and said, "Why is she here?" as if he were a first year who was displeased to see their least favorite classmate in the room. "Hi, Draco!" I said cheerfully, which made Lucius look perplexed. "Back from Hogwarts, I see!" "What are you doing here?" he repeated, this time with ice in his voice. "Nobody told you?" I asked innocently. "Take a look at this." I pulled back my sleeve, causing him to gasp. "Y - You're a ... but ... why would he let you join?" he spat. At that moment I became myself again. "I didn't want to," I muttered. "But I didn't have a choice. I was stupid; I got captured." His eyes were full of triumph and mocking. "You got caught? That's not exactly surprising, is it?" "Shut up," I growled. "I know your story - you only got to join because your precious daddy got shut up in prison, so the Dark Lord wanted revenge. You were a piece of bait, Draco Malfoy; you weren't meant to complete the mission. You were meant to die, and the only reason you're still here today is because somebody else stepped up for you and killed Dumbledore because you were a coward." He couldn't say anything to this; he was fuming with rage, like a volcano boiling over and preparing to erupt. "Enough!" Lucius snapped. "Miss Lestrange, why don't you return to wherever you were before this argument took place? Better yet, come with me. I think you'll be pleased cleaning the cellar without any magic like a filthy Muggle - " "She's allowed to go to the cellar?" Draco blurted. "Don't you know who she is?" Lucius looked as if he had made a vast mistake. "Oh ... right. The toilets, then. You can clean every toilet in this house without magic. And don't even think about going to the cellar!"

Though things had been peaceful for some time, I knew it wouldn't last ... and it didn't. The quiet evening spent with Theodore in the library was ruined in a fraction of a second when Bellatrix came charging in, screaming my name. "Lyra, get in here!" "What is it?" I asked, worried. "We need you to confirm something. We think we have Potter!" My stomach flipped over in fear. Harry was here? I couldn't send him to his death by turning him in to the Dark Lord! But the days of pretending I wasn't a Death Eater were gone. This was my first task. I got up and followed Bellatrix out of the room. Theodore got up to follow me, but Bellatrix made him stay back. "This isn't your business, Nott!" she shrieked, and I noticed her insanity in the way her eyes lit up madly and her black hair crackled with static. Theodore didn't hide his shock or his disappointment. I shot him a sympathetic look before following Bellatrix down the hall to the drawing room. Every second seemed to drag on. It took all my willpower to put one step in front of the other. The worst that could happen would be that some Death Eater would summon the Dark Lord. If that happened, I was doomed. If that happened, perhaps we were all doomed. I nearly gasped when I entered the room. Besides Lucius, Draco, Fenrir Greyback (I recognized him from the Snatchers) and other Snatchers, there were three new people, each familiar and unfamiliar in different ways. One had shoulder-length black hair, a puffy pink face, and glasses. The other two resembled Ron and Hermione very much, though they looked as though they had been living in the wilderness for months. The black-haired one looked a lot like Harry, but he appeared to be transformed or under some magical spell. Perhaps Hermione had done it? As I thought about it, there was no doubt that Hermione and Ron were the other two. If they were here, the puffy-faced person had to be Harry. "So, Lyra?" Bellatrix asked me. "Is it them? Draco failed to tell us, but I know my daughter would be honest. Did the Snatchers capture Potter at last?" Delusional! I thought. She thought I would be honest and turn them in?

"I ... I don't know," I stammered, struggling to keep the tremor of fear out of my voice. "It could be, but I don't know ... it doesn't really look like Potter. He had shorter hair and ... and ... a scar." "But look!" Lucius exclaimed. "See this? He was hit with at Stinging Jinx, we think! This line right here could be his scar, stretched tight! Look, Lyra! What do you think?" He yelled impatiently, but I still took my time in observing the spot he showed me on Harry's forehead. I shrugged. "I can't be certain. I would hate for the Dark Lord to come only to find out that this someone else." "But you went to school with them! You were in their house! Look at those two! Isn't that the Granger Mudblood and Arthur Weasley's son?" Lucius demanded. "I don't know!" I whined. "The Weasley's have lots of children!" Looking closer at the three, I could see the terror in Hermione's eyes as she silently pleaded me to spare them. How could I possibly let them be captured? "So you admit he's one of the Weasleys?" Lucius yelled. "Do you?" "No!" "I think she's a liar!" Lucius roared, turning to Bellatrix. "Your daughter doesn't want to turn her friends in! Bella, make her give us answers!" "There's no need to order me about like that, Lucius! But if you insist, there is always a way to make her be truthful." Facing me, she said, "Lyra, do you honestly know who they are?" "No," I moaned in distress. "I don't." "She lies!" spat Lucius. "She shared a dormitory with the Granger girl for six years! She would know how she looks by now!" "You're right, Lucius," Bellatrix said with a trace of dissatisfaction in her voice that showed she felt slightly defeated. "You're right. Lyra, I hate to do this to you. Crucio!" The usual falling to the floor, screaming, and thrashing about happened, but I wasn't going to give in. She stopped the spell, giving me a split-second to think about the situation at hand. Harry Potter was possibly the Chosen One, and there was a good

possibility that he was out to defeat Voldemort. If I turned him in, who would defeat the Dark Lord? At this moment, did the fate of the future rest with me? The spell ended and I sat up, glaring fiercely at my mother. "Don't tell me you hate to do that, even if it is to me." "Well? Is it Potter and his friends or not? Tell me the truth, Lyra, and you'll be rewarded beyond anything!" "It's not them!" I shouted. "It's not Potter! Potter has a scar!" "But this could be the scar!" Lucius yelled. "We know you're lying! Tell the truth!" "You're being stupid! I said it wasn't them! Who says I'm lying?" "Crucio!" This time the pain was far more excruciating, but I hung on anyway. This was the worst Cruciatus Curse I had ever been forced to suffer. Every second seemed to last an hour and I felt like my head was going to split open. I screamed at the top of my lungs, crying for help, crying for her to stop. She wouldn't lift the curse, and it wasn't until I vaguely heard the door bust open and someone shout, "Stop! Don't hurt her anymore!" that Bellatrix lost her focus and the pain ended. I continued to lie on the floor, sweating and panting. I could barely focus on anything; I felt consciousness slipping away. Several screams and swears came from Bellatrix, and I opened my eyes to see Rodolphus and Theodore in the doorway. Rodolphus was shaking with rage; he could barely hold his wand steady as he tightly clutched his wand and aimed it at Bellatrix. She pointed hers back, ready to duel if necessary. "What are you doing to her?" roared Rodolphus. "Trying to get answers! She won't admit that this is Potter and his friends!" "Well, maybe they're not! Why torture her into near insanity if she says they're not? Are you going to torture her until she says they are? If they're not Potter and his friends, why are you so desperate to pretend they are? Torturing our daughter is not the answer, Bella!" "Don't tell me what to do!" she snarled. "You are not part of this, Rodolphus! I just want answers and if you don't - if you - "

Something else caught her eye. Her eyes widened as her speech trailed away and she lowered her wand. I looked to the object that had shocked her: a shining silver sword embellished with rubies. She began to interrogate the nearby Snatchers, who looked uneasy yet possibly entertained by the recent argument. I took advantage of this moment to try to get to my feet again, but my legs were weak and I felt myself collapse to the floor. Theodore speedily rushed over to me without making much sound and helped me up. He muttered, "Let's go" and guided me through the doorway to the hall. It was with perfect timing too-the next moment I heard a lot of shouting and caught a glimpse of glittering red light which I recognized as a Stunning spell, but I took hardly any notice of this as I tried to walk on unsteady legs to wherever Theodore was leading me. A few seconds later I had collapsed onto something soft. I recognized a bed, though I wasn't sure what room we were in. I felt my senses slowly disappearing, and moments later I could only hear the murmur of voices and feel the warm softness of the blankets underneath me. I didn't know if I was conscious or not. I wasn't really sure of anything. I didn't know where I was or who was in the room. Yet I could feel a warm hand touching my face, and I heard the wellknown voice say, "She's as cold as ice." Another person - also familiar - said, "She's also very pale. She needs help now. I'll get some potions; you stay here. Try to warm her up." The blankets on the mattress underneath my limp body were pulled out and placed on top of me. I immediately began to feel warmer even though I still didn't have much body heat. I was too weak to shiver. I heard the first voice mutter a spell under his breath, which I recognized as the reviving incantation. "Ennervate. Ennervate!" he cried out. "Lyra, please wake up!" Everything was still and silent for several minutes until I heard the door reopen. Whoever came in approached me within seconds and tried to force potions down my mouth. I would have cooperated if possible, but I couldn't move a muscle. I had no idea what was wrong with me, but I hoped that I wouldn't be in this state for long. Nevertheless, I felt something icy cold slide down my throat though I couldn't taste it. "She's breathing fine," the first voice said, "but she won't wake up.

What do you think happened? Is she in a coma? Will she be all right?" As he asked questions, his voice became worried and emotional. The second voice answered him, "I hope so, but I'm no Healer. We just have to do what we can. If she - if anything - if Bella - if she doesn't make it ... " He didn't say anymore. "She will. Lyra's strong." "I don't know. She hasn't seemed very strong through this whole thing. Becoming a Death Eater seemed to take away any strength she may have had. I don't know ... if Bella has done anything to ... I'll kill her!" His voice roared with rage as he said the last part. I could hear breathing as he tried to gain control. Then he said, "Try giving her more potion." The icy liquid hit my mouth again, and one of my senses returned. I could taste again, and if was awful. I felt my chest go into a spasm, causing a cough to break out. "Is that a good sign or not?" one of the men asked. The other one didn't answer but said, "Try the potion again. I think it's working." More cool-feeling potion slid down my throat; this time I could smell it, and the scent was just as bad as the taste. Then something else happened: I felt my muscles loosen up; I wasn't frozen in one position anymore. Realizing I could move, I opened my eyes and squinted against the light. Everything was blurred, even when I opened them wider, but I heard the two people gasp in relief. "Lyra!" one shouted, and though my vision was hazed I could distinguish Theodore. Next to him was Rodolphus, and he appeared concerned and angry. My eyes cleared up and I sat up shakily, still weak from the attack. But now everything was coming back, and I knew why I had been in a coma-like condition. "Lyra," Rodolphus said in an undertone, "Do you remember what just happened?" "Yes. She used the Cruciatus Curse and it was the worst I had ever felt ... I thought I was going to die ... " As I spoke, everything replayed in my mind and I found myself clutching my head as if all the pain was returning. "It's all right. Get some rest."

"Rest," I muttered. "Sounds good." I slid back into a sleeping position and closed my eyes. I felt like I could slumber for hours and hours. It would most likely take hours before I recovered completely from shock and fatigue. Only a few seconds later, the peaceful environment vanished. Someone burst through the door with almost enough strength to shatter it. Bellatrix was standing in the doorway, wand raised. She looked angrier than I had ever seen her. Her eyes burned as they searched the room. When they rested on me, I froze. So much for getting sleep. "YOU!" she bellowed at the top of her lungs. "YOU LET THEM ESCAPE!" "What?" I asked. "POTTER!" "I - oh ... " After the attack, the fact that Harry and his friends were here had barely crossed my mind. I was too tired to think straight, let alone remember anything. "That was Potter! He escaped with his friends and the prisoners in the cellar!" "The cellar?" I inquired, and made my voice as clearly confused as possible. Then I remembered the way Draco and Lucius had forbid me to go there. "Who - ?" "The wandmaker, the lunatic girl, all those others we had imprisoned ... they've escaped! And Wormtail is dead!" "Bella, Bella, calm down," Rodolphus said evenly. "I'm sure we can do something before the Dark Lord finds out ... maybe ... " "I will not calm down! There's nothing we can do anymore, Rodolphus! I already called the Dark Lord; he is coming here at this very moment!" Stunned looks appeared on Theodore's and my father's faces, in addition to my own. If Voldemort was coming here, what would happen? Were we all going to die? He would be beside himself when he found out that Harry had escaped with the prisoners. Bellatrix was breathing heavily and showed no signs of controlling

herself anytime soon. Glaring at Rodolphus, she said, "This has gone too far! We have no choice anymore!" She turned to me with her wand directed at my body. "Lyra, you've been nothing but trouble for us since you came here. Actually, you've been nothing but trouble since you were born. I'm sorry, but for the Dark Lord's sake, I have to do this. Av - " "NO!" Rodolphus roared. "If you kill her, I'll kill you!" "Then I'll kill you first!" she screamed. "If you're supporting her, you're a traitor too!" "Stupefy!" Glittering red light shot from Rodolphus's wand and hit Bellatrix square in the chest. She flew backwards, hit the wall, and crashed to the floor. Her eyes were closed and she didn't move. "You didn't - ?" "She's not dead," my father growled. "She's just knocked out. I'll deal with her later. For now, you need to get out before the Dark Lord comes. I promise I won't betray you, and I'll make sure Bella doesn't either. Go upstairs and act like you know nothing. If the Dark Lord interrogates you, I think you'll be okay-you're good at Occlumency. Theodore, why don't you take her upstairs?" "Of course, Mr. Lestrange," he said. "Wait," I said weakly. "What about the other Death Eaters who saw what happened? Lucius and Draco were in the room and there may have been others ... " "It doesn't matter. I'll make sure the Dark Lord doesn't find out. I'll take the blame if I have to." "You can't!" I gasped. "I would do anything to protect you." The fierceness in his voice indicated he would go to the ends of the earth to defend me, like most fathers would. I had never felt so much gratitude and ... some other emotion I couldn't quite name toward him before. Yet those feelings were topped with confusion. I had hated him all my life, and now he was going to protect me. I knew I could trust him, though. I had to. "Let's go, Lyra," Theodore said as he began to lead me out of the room. "Now you can really get some rest. I can tell you need it."

The next few days crawled by. I was confined to my room, but not because Voldemort ordered it-Rodolphus had insisted I stay there for protection. I was more than happy to obey. With the Dark Lord back and staying for some time, I never wanted to glimpse him. Meals were the worst part of the day because they were the only times I left my room, but luckily Voldemort rarely came into the kitchen. However, one night I could barely take it any longer. I left my room and went to the second floor balcony that overlooked the garden in the back. I had to admit it was beautiful, even at night. I stared at the stars as usual, thinking about how far away they were. Doing so made it hard to imagine that I was trapped in this house. Not only was I physically trapped, but I was trapped in nearly every other way imaginable. Other thoughts that crossed my mind were my family: How was Andromeda? Had she found someplace safe to hide? What about Dora and Remus? Were any of them worried about me? I knew the answer to that question so I asked myself if they thought I was alive or dead. As I was lost in thought, the door to the balcony opened. I jumped in fright and turned around, but relaxed when I saw Theodore. "Hey," he said. "Are you okay?" "Yes," I said. "I'm just worried ... " "About your family?" "Yes." "It's okay. I keep saying this over and over, and I'll say it again: This war isn't going to last forever. You'll get to see them again." "But what if they're already dead?" I asked tearfully. "Like Sirius?" "Have faith. They'll be fine." "I don't see how you can be so positive - " But I was cut off because he had already moved closer and kissed me. I accepted it gratefully; he always knew how to comfort me. Then he pulled away. "That's not why I came out here. I came to give you this." He handed me something: a parchment envelope.

"It came by owl. It's lucky that I got it instead of ... anyone else. It's addressed to you. Take it." Stunned and confused, I tore open the envelope. Then I realized what this could be - a letter from home? Surely that was the only possibility. Theodore smiled at me, and I understood. "Have faith?" I asked. "Is this the reason you said that?" He shrugged. "Just read it." The letter was scribbled quickly on parchment, and nobody had signed it. But the familiar handwriting jumped out at me and I smiled in delight. Born last night. Named Teddy Remus. I don't know where you are, but I hope you're all right. I can't say much in case this ends up in the wrong hands. We're okay for now. Lots of love. "Dora had her baby ... " I whispered. "Is she all right?" "She appears to be." I sighed in relief. "Thanks, Theodore. If you didn't get this, well ... I'd hate to think ... " "I know. But the point is they're safe. And for now, you're safe." Safe. The word wouldn't leave my head. Maybe I was safe to a degree, but I couldn't see how it would last forever. "Come on. It's late. You should get to bed." "You're right. Goodnight Theodore." "Goodnight, Lyra. I love you." End Notes: I'm pleased to say that after a super crazy year of vacation planning and fallen hopes, I was lucky enough to go to the Wizarding World Theme Park in Orlando, Florida, and it was absolutely AMAZING! I know the trip is probably difficult for many people, but if you ever get the chance, it is SO worth it. Words can't even describe how amazing it is. I hope all Potter fans get the chance to visit it someday :D Back to index

Chapter 51- Sad Story by Lyra Lestrange ~Chapter 51- Sad Story~ I felt like I had finally made a full recovery. I had been weak for some time due to the intense dosage of Cruciatus Curses I had received, but by now I felt back to normal, whatever normal happened to be. I was sifting through the items in my robe pocket one day out of total boredom. There wasn't much in it. There was my old D.A. Galleon, a memento of Dumbledore's Army. There was a sticky sugar quill, which had taken a cleaning spell to rid of. There was even a small packet of Pygmy Puff food. With a pang or regret I remembered Drooble, the Pygmy Puff Dora had given me last Christmas. He was probably sitting in his cage in my bedroom at home, desperate with hunger. I felt sick and awful inside. The poor thing probably had no chance of surviving. I prayed that he would somehow get out of his cage and scavenge for food. I couldn't get this off my mind as I emptied the contents of my other pocket. The letter from Dora was there, along with a pair of earrings, a dash of Floo powder, a chocolate frog card, and other pieces of junk that served me no purpose anymore. Still, they were all pieces of home. That's why I shoved them back into my pockets instead of tossing them out. There was a light knock on my door. By now I was able to tell who was behind it based on how the knock sounded. If it was Bellatrix, there was no knock; she just barged right in. Narcissa tapped lightly, barely audible, but she rarely came anyway. If it was Rodolphus, he knocked loudly and firmly. However, the most common-and my favorite-knock came from Theodore. This time it was him on the other side of the door. I got up from where I sat on my bed and opened it. "Yes?" He smiled brightly. "May I come in?" "Of course." He walked in carrying a wooden block. It was a mini-Wireless, I realized, as he set it down on my bed. "I want you to hear something," he said, and began to find the station he was looking for. "Ah, this is it." "That's Potterwatch!" I gasped. "You've heard it?"

"Yeah, we used to listen to it back at the house!" "Oh. Well, I heard some names I think you've mentioned before ... " "Yeah, probably Order members." I was silent for a few seconds as I listened. "That's Kingsley Shacklebolt talking." "I hate to say that they just announced the news, so there won't be much for a while. There were some more Muggle killings, but that's all I heard." "It only gets worse. Hey, where did you get this anyway?" He suddenly looked uncomfortable. "Well ... Lucius is away, so he won't find out I borrowed it until he gets back." I smiled but said, "Be careful." I meant it. "Anyway, let's see what else there is." He began to search for channels again. "Isn't everything broadcasted by the Dark Side these days?" "You'd be surprised. Here we go." He stopped it on a music station. "Music? What?" I was dumbfounded. "Lyra," he sighed as he brushed a piece of hair off my face. "I know everything has changed dramatically, but yes, chocolate ice cream and jokes and even music still exist." I rolled my eyes at him before becoming serious. "You're right; it's just hard to believe." "Listen to it, though. Recognize the song?" "The Weird Sisters!" I gasped without even thinking twice. It was that song, Magic Works,' which I had heard plenty of times before. It was the one that had been played at Dora's wedding, the one I pictured myself dancing with Theodore to. It was the one I had cried to because I hated the message it told, that magic can't die. And maybe, just maybe, it couldn't, because we were back together. "Let's dance," he said suddenly.

I was so shocked. Had he read my thoughts somehow? "Do you know Legilimency?" I asked stupidly. "What? No way. Why would you ask that?" "Because I was kind of thinking the same thing." "Well, what are you waiting for?" He took his hands in mine. "Dance with me. Really. We've never danced with each other before." "I've never danced with anyone before," I told him as I stood up and moved closer. "Well, okay, except Neville Longbottom at the Yule Ball. And um, Mad-Eye Moody, but trust me, that did not count." "This counts," he said. Then he wrapped his arms around my waist and pulled me a bit closer to him. Thinking I was supposed to wrap mine around his neck, I did so. "It's simple," he said. "There's nothing to it." It was, I had to admit, pretty simple. We mostly swayed on the spot, moving our feet slightly. Honestly, I felt like every single day he did something to make me fall in love with him even more. A few days ago it was the letter from Dora he had retrieved for me. Today it was this dance. I wasn't any good, considering I kept stepping on his feet, but his gracefulness made up for that, I hoped. At least I knew he didn't mind. "How do you know so much?" I asked rather randomly. "About dancing, I mean." "Oh." He suddenly became serious. "My mum taught me, actually. You can laugh if you want." He was blushing slightly, and looked to the ceiling. "I don't think that's funny. It's brilliant." "Well, I was about ten. I don't remember everything." "Aw, shame," I joked. "If you'd remember everything, maybe this dance could be even more perfect than it already is." He pulled me closer until my head was against his chest. I closed my eyes and focused on the song lyrics. For once, they actually fit. Nothing could ruin this. Bellatrix could burst in at any moment and shout something insane at me, and I wouldn't care because I was in

my own world with Theodore. I accidentally stepped on his foot again. "Oops," I giggled, pulling back a little. I looked at him apologetically. "Sorry about that." He smiled and said, "It's no problem." Then he was kissing me, and I have to say the foot movement stopped after that because we were so wrapped up that we forgot to dance. I could still focus on the lyrics in the background though, and that only made everything better. We stopped when the music stopped. We couldn't hide our smiles as we stared at each other, breathless. Finally Theodore broke his gaze away and walked back to the bed to turn the Wireless down low. I followed him over and we sat down next to each other. "Thanks for the dance," I said. "It was nice. And I'm sorry I stepped on your feet so many times." He laughed. "That's okay. There's not a first anything in a romantic relationship that isn't clumsy, I don't think." What he said was true, at least for us: the first dance a mess of feet, the first dates timid, the first kisses awkward. But I always felt like he had more experience than me in every field. "Maybe that holds true for me," I said. "I was bad at everything at first." "Of course you weren't," he said. "I knew nothing about relationships," I said. "I was nervous all the time. Especially since we sort of just happened, you know? There wasn't exactly a formal line drawn for when our relationship started." "Yeah, there was," he said. "When, the time you actually asked me out in Hogsmeade, or the time we met on the grounds that night?" "The grounds, of course." He smiled lightly. "But was it? You said Hogsmeade was our first date."

"Not so much. I claimed the night on the grounds as our first date." "I remember what you said. 'Tonight should be known as our official first date.' You made me so nervous. I swear my heart beat faster than it ever had before." He practically laughed. "That was the point." "You were so at ease, though. You seem so at ease all the time," I said. "Me, well ... I'm usually a wreck." "Oh, there have been times where I've been a wreck. A big one at that ... " "When?" I asked curiously. What didn't I know about him already? "When ... my mum died." "Oh ... right." I paused for several seconds. "You never told me what happened." "I never told anyone," he said, and there was a trace of coldness in his voice. "It was just too difficult to think about. I was only ten. But...you should know." "You don't have to tell me if you're not comfortable," I insisted. "No ... you need to know," he said. "You deserve to. We tell each other everything, so ... yeah. I'll tell you. This could be difficult. I don't think I ever brought it up to anybody since it happened." "Not even your dad?" "Tch. My dad." He glared at the wall. "Yeah, right. Like I'd ever talk to him about that, namely since it's entirely his fault." "What?" "It was my dad's fault she died." "What happened?" I was wide-eyed with curiosity and even nerves by now. Whatever happened must have been awful and traumatizing for him ... "Well, first, let me tell you about her." I waited patiently. There was something about his tone that frightened me. I wasn't sure I really wanted to know this story. Really, I wasn't sure if I could handle it. I didn't say anything though,

so he continued. "She was beautiful. I know it sounds odd saying that, but - " "No, not at all," I said. "Well, she was a Ravenclaw, not a Slytherin. She was pureblood, though. That's the only reason my dad agreed to marry her. He's barely a step down from the Dark Lord. I don't think he could ever love anyone." He took a deep breath. "Anyway, she was perfect in almost every way - beautiful, smart, practically top of her class at Hogwarts. Her only flaw was that she was ... foolishly nave." He looked at me. I almost flinched; his eyes were so full of hurt. I slid my hand into his and said, once again, "You don't have to - " "No," he said coldly. "I do have to. Now, she loved my father. I'm not sure what it was about him, but she did. He didn't love her, but as you know, pureblood marriages often don't have anything to do with love." I felt a stab of pain. Yes, I knew about that. "She wanted children, but he didn't. I know this because I heard them arguing over it one night. I heard my name a lot, and I heard her tell him that he needed to pay more attention to me and care about me more. Then I heard him say word for word, 'You know the only reason I agreed to have him was to keep the pureblood line going.' Of course." "W - What did you do?" I asked. "Nothing," he said. "There wasn't anything I could do. Of course my mother would have comforted me if I told her I was upset, but my father taught me not to do that. I could never feel sad and trained myself not to hurt inside." "You did?" "For ... a while." "What happened?" "They fought. They fought all the time. It was terrible. I would just be sitting somewhere in the house, and all of a sudden I would hear screaming and shouting and stuff being thrown around and I knew it was always her fault. For a long time she put up with his abuse, but eventually she couldn't take it. Instead of being pushed around by him, she fought back. It got so bad that one day they pulled out

their wands." "No." "Yes. I was often in the room, and as you can imagine, that was scary and tough for a young child. They shot spells at each other but it was never any worse than a few scrapes and minor burns, maybe some cuts and being knocked out. I grew so used to it that it turned into a normal routine." I could only imagine where this story was going. My stomach felt sick as I tried to digest the words. I tried telling myself this wasn't as bad as what the Dark Lord did all the time, but for Theodore's sake I couldn't. I just kept picturing a little boy in my head, huddled in a corner because his parents constantly got violent with each other. "That's terrible," I whispered softly. "You think that's terrible. It gets much worse." I didn't want hear the rest of the story, but I found myself unable to stop him from speaking. "She apparently pushed him over the edge one day. I was in the room with her, talking as she knitted something. It was a rare occasion when he wasn't out of the house to push us around, so we enjoyed the time together. Then, without any warning whatsoever, he burst into the room in an angry rage. He'd just visited the Dark Lord, who had angered him over something. I don't even know what it was; I couldn't understand what he was saying. "And as always, he started to take it out on her. She quickly got fired up, and they started screaming. The wands came out and spells were shot. The conversation took a turn, though. Somewhere along the line, I was brought into it." "Why?" I asked. "What did you have to do with any of this?" "The usual. She said he didn't care about me, he more or less admitted he didn't, they shot spells at each other. Through it all I was huddled in the corner. He used the Cruciatus Curse multiple times. I was tempted to jump into the fight and do whatever I could to stop it, but I couldn't move for the life of me. After the fourth curse, she lost it all and shot one back. I was horrified by this. I was seeing her as a monster by now, not my mother. But anyway, that did it. The curse angered him so much he stood up and shot one back, but it was different. Green light." "Wh - What?"

"You didn't see that coming?" "I thought the Ministry would burst in because of the use of illegal curses and she would be sent to Azkaban and die there from wounds or insanity or something. Anything but that," I told him quietly. "We were Unplottable, so the curses were never detected. He made her death look like an accident. There was no funeral, no obituary in the Prophet, nothing." "He ... killed ... her?" "Yeah." "How can you be so calm about it?" I shrieked. I didn't mean to come across as angry. I was just putting myself in the situation. After Sirius had died, I had been a total mess, with a changed personality accompanied by dangerous actions. "Believe me, I wasn't calm after it happened," he explained. "My dad yelled at me, cast spells on me, and did everything to punish me for grieving. Eventually his message got across. I shut myself up and never talked to anyone. I hid my pain and managed to forget about it. That's why I never had friends at school. I refused to get close to anyone in case of losing them. Just like you." "But ... he killed her. And you're just telling it like - " I felt ashamed of the tears in my eyes. This was not my story, not something I had been through. Maybe I cried because I knew how it felt to lose someone close and then to shut yourself up. Maybe it was because I didn't want to think about his pain. Whatever the case, he pulled me close to him as usual and muttered things like, "It's all right." I hated doing this, but I pushed him away. "Stop. It should be the other way around." "Lyra, this happened a long time ago. I'm over it. I told you I was a mess for a while after it happened, but it happened over seven years ago." I shook my head and stared into his eyes. I knew his pain probably more than anybody. It was written everywhere - his face and most prominently, his blue eyes. "You're not over it. You never had a real chance to grieve. Your dad wouldn't let you so you held it up and never let it out." "Lyra - "

"It's okay to stop and take time to grieve. It doesn't matter how long it's been. If you need time, you need time." His expression was changing. It was one I had never seen before. The muscles in his face seemed to slacken and his eyes blinked rapidly. "It's okay to miss her. She was important to you." I reached up to put my hand against his face. "There's nobody here. Your father is out. It's just me, and I understand you like nobody in this world. I also had a relative get killed by another. You can't keep this inside for your whole life, Theodore." He swallowed hard as I rubbed my thumb against his cheekbone. "I can't." He pushed my hand away weakly. "I just - " And to my surprise, instead of pushing me away completely, he brought me closer and buried his face in my neck. There was no denying the muffled sounds of sobs and the wetness of tears against my skin. It was strange knowing he was crying. He had seen me break down plenty of times, but he always remained strong. He was holding me possibly tighter than he had before, keeping the only dear thing to him as close as he could. I wrapped my arms around him; we stayed like that for minutes. It didn't matter how long it took for him to pull away. He wouldn't look at me when he wiped his eyes. Neither of us spoke about what had just passed. More minutes went by as he regained control. When he spoke, it was to say, "You know, you remind me of her. She was reserved but headstrong and not afraid to stand up and fight. Maybe that's why I was drawn to you. I don't know." "Maybe," I said. "Maybe it's because we've both been through the same pain." Now that I knew the full story I felt closer to him than I had before, like the two of us had reached a new emotional level together. And if it came to it, we would do anything for the other, no matter what the cost ... End Notes: I'll say this now that you've read the chapter: I actually added this chapter in later, after I completed the fic. I hope it doesn't break up the flow of events at all. Also, I like to think Drooble the Pygmy Puff survives :) Next chapter: start of the climax/Battle of Hogwarts scene

Back to index Chapter 52- The End Arrives by Lyra Lestrange Author's Notes: The Battle of Hogwarts begins here! ~Chapter 52- The End Arrives~ I was in the library one evening reading a book on defensive spells that were far more complex than any we had learned in school when Theodore exploded into the room looking pale in the face and tightly clutching a copy of the Daily Prophet. "Why are you still reading that?" I questioned before I saw how panicked he was. "I thought everything written there was rubbish." "Lyra, this is serious," he told me. "Potter and his friends broke into Gringotts and the Dark Lord is throwing a tantrum. He's already killed several goblins simply out of rage." "What?" I exclaimed as I jumped up from my seat. The book I was reading fell to the floor with a crash, but I barely took notice. "Why did they break in?" "I have no idea, but they stole a golden cup. Whatever it was, it's making him distraught. It must be important. Lyra, do you think ... is it possible that the Dark Lord has a secret Potter knows about?" "I've suspected that," I admitted. "Whatever it is, I hope it - " I was cut off. The door flew open and Bellatrix sped in with her wand pointed like always. "Lyra!" she screeched. "They broke into our vault! You know this is your fault - " She fell to the floor after a beam of red light hit her. Rodolphus appeared in the doorway seconds after. He looked bored. "That's twice I've had to save you from her," he said with a hint of humor. "How can you joke right now?" I asked. Swallowing hard, I explained to him how I felt: "She's going to try to kill me at every moment she gets! I can't be protected any longer!" "I won't let her ... kill you," he said with disgust. Then he sighed. "She's blinded by insanity. She can't see you for who you are, but for what you've done. She just hates seeing the Dark Lord like he is now ... I'm sure you heard ... " He broke off with something new in his voice - pain? "You miss her the way she was," I muttered.

He sighed again. "I just want ... well, I'll say it even if the Dark Lord is around: I just want this war to end. Then maybe she wouldn't be like she is ... if he were gone." "I think we all want this to be over," I told him. Silence filled the room. I looked out the window to see the sky fading to dusk. A moment later, something burned me, causing me to inhale sharply. It wasn't the first time I had felt that hot scorching pain against my leg. I reached into my robe pocket and felt the source of the heat: my D.A. Galleon. I always kept it in my pocket because it was one of the few pieces of the past I had left with me. I never thought I would feel it burn again. "What's wrong?" Rodolphus asked. "He's not summoning you, is he?" "What? Oh, the Dark Lord? No, it's this: my Galleon." Rodolphus looked perplexed, but Theodore understood. With a gasp he said, "You don't think Hogwarts is ... but the Dark Lord is here! He can't be attacking the school, can he?" With perfect timing, I felt that familiar splitting pain in my wrist. I wasn't the only one - Rodolphus clapped his opposite hand to his and unconscious Bellatrix sprang up from the floor, awoken by the Dark Lord's call. "The Dark Lord summons! To the kitchen!" she yelled dramatically. I gave Theodore an astonished, apprehensive look. He looked just as uncertain, but approached my side. Together we walked to the kitchen without knowing what we would face inside. The other Death Eaters were gathered there, but Voldemort was nowhere to be found. Then, once everyone was clustered into the room, a voice boomed out of the walls (so it seemed), cold, highpitched, and familiar. "My faithful Death Eaters, the time has come," the Dark Lord's voice spoke. "Harry Potter is at Hogwarts, and it is time to destroy him once and for all. I need each and every one of you to prepare to fight and Apparate to Hogwarts immediately. I will meet you there. This cannot wait. I must take action now. Do as I say now." Icy fear gripped me. "What's going on?" I whispered. "Potter must have discovered his secrets!" Theodore whispered

fiercely. "But we have to fight." "I - I can't do that! I could never fight against the D.A.! I've spent my whole life trying to prove that I would never have anything to do with the Dark Side, and when I show up in Death Eater robes, what will they think?" "They won't know it's you; you'll be in your mask!" "Oh, yes! A lot of help you're being!" I hissed. I turned away from him and left the kitchen, pushing through the crowd of Death Eaters to get through the door. Holding back tears with all my might, I ran up the stairs and into my bedroom. I slammed the door, flopped on my bed, and let it out. How could I fight? I wasn't a traitor. How could Theodore and Rodolphus fight for the Death Eaters either? All my life I had felt torn between the sides of good and evil, but I never thought it would come to this. My heart was in two places. I couldn't fight against Dora, the Order, and what was right, but I couldn't fight against Theodore and my father either! "Lyra, we have to go." The sound of Rodolphus's voice surprised me. I had been too preoccupied with my thoughts to hear him enter the room. I looked up at him through blurred vision, and I saw that his eyes were gentle. "I can't go," I moaned. "I can't! I can't fight for either side!" "Then stay here and I'll cover for you somehow." "I can't do that either! Don't you get it? If I stay, I'll never know what's going on; I won't be able to protect those I care about. But there are people I love on both sides!" With what appeared to take a lot of effort, Rodolphus said, "Just follow your heart. That's the only advice I can give." "Wait ... " A thought had struck me. "You said you want this war to be over. Couldn't you fight with me?" My tone was fierce, even demanding. "Are you saying you're going to change sides?" "I ... I ... I guess I am. Dad, I can't ... " I stopped speaking. Had I really just referred to him as 'Dad'? "I can't fight everything I've lived for. Sirius died fighting for the right side, and I will too if it

comes to it." "Spoken like a true Gryffindor," he said. "You've always belonged there, Lyra." "Lyra!" Theodore ran into the room. "Lyra, Rodolphus, we have to hurry! Lucius says the Dark Lord won't wait!" "He's quite right," Rodolphus agreed. "I'll meet you two down there." He left the room, leaving the two of us alone. "Lyra ... you're going to change sides, aren't you?" "Yes." "I can't say I'm surprised." A painful silence followed. "I guess you're not," I muttered. "You know I can't do that," he replied. "Why not?" I jumped up, almost furious. "You said you wanted this war to be over! Fight for what you want, Theodore! Follow your heart! I know why you don't want to switch sides - you're afraid of what the Dark Lord and your father will do to you!" "Wow," he muttered. "You guessed correctly." "Don't be afraid! Fight with me! Fight for what's right!" I locked my eyes with him, daring him to break the stare. Somehow I knew he wouldn't ... we loved each other too much to fight against each other. "I - I guess I could," he finally conceded. "Yes. I'll be by your side through the whole thing. I do love you, Lyra." "I love you too. That's why I couldn't fight against you." He simply nodded. Then he kissed me so tenderly it hurt-how did we know this wasn't the last one ever? The chilling thought pierced me: any of us could be walking straight to our deaths. Would I ever be able to survive if I lost him tonight? I knew it would be impossible to convince him to stay behind, however much I wanted to know he would be safe.

"Are you two coming down or not?" a disgusted, repulsed voice asked. Startled, Theodore and I released each other and saw Draco in the doorway. Humiliation and anger swamped me; why did it have to be him? "We're waiting for you two," he snapped. "I see neither of you have your masks on!" With a jolt I saw his Death Eater mask clamped in his hand. I looked at Theodore with wide eyes. "You have to wear it," he insisted gently. Then, leaning close, he said in a whisper, "Use it to your advantage." "What do you mean? Oh!" He nodded his head as I understood. I could wear Death Eater attire but still switch sides because nobody would know who I was. I would have to be tricky, but I could pretend to shoot a curse at an Order member but hit a Death Eater instead. I sighed in distress. This wasn't going to be easy. "If you're quite finished, we need to leave before the Dark Lord curses our - " "We get it," I muttered. "And we're ready. Let's go." Every step down the stairs lasted forever. My feet were heavy and eventually I couldn't feel my legs at all. This was really it - the moment I would have to prove my loyalties. At that moment I had never felt less like a Death Eater, even as I placed the mask on my face. Whether I would get away with anything was another matter. But a different question nagged at me ... ... Was this the final battle of good against evil? Just outside the front door the rest of the Death Eaters were gathered. When the last of us joined, we stood and waited. For what, I wasn't sure. "Um ... what are we waiting for?" I whispered to Theodore, but he wasn't the only one who heard. "We're waiting to be called," the Death Eater called Antonin Dolohov hissed. "We can't just charge into Hogwarts without orders, can we?" I glared at him, but inside I was embarrassed.

We waited for minutes as the twilit sky slowly began to darken. I grew more and more nervous every second. I was in the dark about what was going on at Hogwarts, but the D.A. must have figured out that Voldemort was coming to attack. At last my wrist ached (I grabbed it like always; it was just as excruciating each time). We had been summoned. All around me Death Eaters began to Apparate. "To Hogwarts!" Bellatrix yelled. "The Dark Lord is waiting for us!" "Lyra, put your mask on!" Theodore whispered. I did so, but with tremendous unwillingness. Then Rodolphus approached me. "I'll meet you two there in a few seconds," he said. "Don't wait too long." He vanished with a pop. As the last sounds of Apparating Death Eaters filled the air, I realized we were the last two left. "Um ... Theodore?" I said cautiously, thinking that my humiliation was never going to end. "Do you remember last year, that day we found a boggart in the cabinet and Snape caught us? It was right after the first Apparition lesson." "Yes, I do, but I don't really think this is the time for reminiscing," he said hastily. "We need to go." "Fine, I'll be straightforward. I can't Apparate." He smiled - and almost laughed. "Then we'll Apparate together. Don't be so embarrassed. The only important thing is that we get to Hogwarts fast." Without warning, he pulled me into the void. I hadn't had a chance to prepare, so I felt like my lungs would burst from lack of air. Finally we crashed hard on the ground outside the gates in front of the toofamiliar castle from which I'd been absent for a year now. We scrambled to our feet and met up with the others. I recognized the Dark Lord closest to the gate and felt that familiar chilling fear seize hold of me. Yet there was something strange going on - Voldemort was just standing there. My father walked up to us and said, "They've placed protective charms around the castle. He'll get through somehow, though." "My Lord, allow me," Bellatrix pleaded to Voldemort. "Allow me to break the enchantments." "No! I can deal with this on my own, Bella! I believe I will take a

different approach. Sonorus!" When he spoke this time, his voice was louder than any human voice I had ever heard. The whole castle as well as the forest and Hogsmeade could probably hear him. With his high-pitched new voice, he demanded Harry Potter to visit him by midnight. "And now ... I shall continue to break through the barriers," Voldemort said in his normal voice. Nobody dared to say a word or offer help as he muttered incantations under his breath in attempt to break through the gates. At last the bars flew open. Voldemort signaled us inside. Bellatrix, Lucius, and several others raced to the front in their eagerness to follow his orders. The rest of us flooded in behind. He led us into the forest and told us to wait until midnight. If Harry didn't come by then, we would attack. As we waited for Harry or midnight - whichever came first - we walked deeper into the forest. Once we were in the heart of it, we sat around in a circle. I couldn't control my nervous shaking and next to me Theodore kept glancing at his watch apprehensively. Midnight came first. "Find Potter and bring him to me! Do not kill him! I repeat, do not kill him! When you must, kill the others to get to him," the Dark Lord commanded. Bellatrix was the first to run out of the forest. The others followed more slowly. Rodolphus went with them, not wanting to betray our secret to Voldemort. Theodore and I were last. I stood up from the trunk with legs like jelly and I felt as if I would collapse. "This is it," I muttered half to myself once we were out of Voldemort's earshot. Theodore didn't say anything. Once we were out of the woods, I gasped. The battle was already a huge disaster. Beams of light flew across the ground in every color from every direction. Various objects were thrusted from the windows of the castle, and every few seconds the earth below would quake. "Giants," Theodore whispered. He pointed to a spot high above us; I looked over and gasped. There were a few giant humanlike creatures stomping around senselessly, but if anyone got underfoot they would be crushed instantly. "The Dark Lord's?" I asked.

"Yes. Come on, let's go. There's no point standing around like this." We walked into the heart of the conflict and wandered around helplessly. I wasn't sure what to do, so I just followed Theodore. Yet I was positive he had no idea what he was doing either. Suddenly a loud shout and blast of red light caught our attention. I spun around quickly and saw Remus Lupin shooting a curse at us. Instinctively I ducked instead of drawing out my wand and cursing him back. I got to my feet quickly and hurried away, dodging more curses as I ran with Theodore trailing behind me. "Remus!" I heard someone shout. "What's going on? Why are they running from you?" Dora! I stopped abruptly and ran toward them, halting in front of Dora. She turned to me with her wand aimed, prepared to attack. "Dora!" I exclaimed without bothering to keep my voice down. "Dora, it's me!" Her expression turned to pure shock. "Lyra?" "Yes, yes! I'm here to fight for you! Theodore and I - " "Theodore? Is that him?" she asked. I remembered that Dora and Theodore had never met, but now was certainly not the time for formal introductions. "Yes, that's him, and we're here to fight." "But I thought he - Lyra, why are you dressed like a Death Eater? Mum told me you got captured, so does that mean they took you in?" "Yes, and it's a long story; I'll have to explain later. Look out, there's another Death Eater coming! I'm sorry, I have to go ... the plan won't work unless I can be tricky." "But - " As much as I wanted to stay and talk to her, to catch up and answer all of her questions, I had to keep going. Gesturing for Theodore to follow, I ran away from the scene, desperately hoping the arriving Death Eater hadn't seen me talking to her. "So that's your cousin," Theodore remarked.

"Yes. What now? I think that Death Eater saw me!" "Follow me, I have an idea." He led the way through many pairs of dueling witches and wizards. I was trembling from head to foot for jets of green light were flying in every direction. Maybe the Death Eaters weren't aiming for me, but that didn't stop a Killing Curse from brushing past my arm. After a minute or so we were behind the Death Eater who was now dueling Dora and Remus. "Now," Theodore said in a hushed tone, "pretend to attack your cousin, but hit Macnair instead." "That's Macnair? Okay, which spell?" "It doesn't matter, but think fast!" His voice was panicked and nervous, which made me tremble harder. Aiming carefully, I cried, "Stupefy!" but it missed. "Stunning?" Theodore asked in disbelief. "When I said the spell didn't matter, I still hoped you would choose something more powerful! Think, Lyra, think! What's the most powerful curse you know?" "I'm not going to cast a Killing Curse!" "No!" he shouted in frustration. Then, lowering his voice, he said, "the other most powerful curse! He's a Death Eater, so don't feel guilty!" "Right - fine. Crucio!" Macnair fell, and Dora looked over in surprise. Her eyes met mine and comprehension lit up her face. Then she turned to Remus and beckoned him to follow her, but a new Death Eater was dueling with him. He had taken off his mask and hood and I saw that it was Dolohov. "Let's curse him!" I said. "No! We can't do it here, it'll be too obvious! Let's get to the other side, near Lupin or whoever he is, and then we'll curse Dolohov." "You're right."

We hurried around to the opposite side, near the place Remus was standing. Dora had now joined him in the duel. "Ready?" Theodore asked. "NOW!" "Crucio!" My spell flew at Dolohov, but it hit a second too late. He had already shot a glimmering peridot-colored beam of light at Remus. It hit him square in the chest; he staggered and fell. I heard Dora scream "NO!" as he hit the ground, but I was too stunned to move, let alone shout. It was too late. Remus was dead on the ground because of me. "Lyra, look," Theodore whispered. He pointed to something, but I couldn't see it. I was still immobilized. "Lyra! You hit Dolohov! He's down!" When I found my voice, I said hoarsely, "But Remus died!" He couldn't find the words to comfort me, I assumed, because he said nothing else. I walked away from him, wanting to be alone, yet as soon as I stepped away I wanted him to follow. Luckily he did, and I let my feet lead me to wherever. I found myself kneeling on the ground next to Dora, who was sobbing heavily over Remus's body. "Dora, I'm sorry!" I bellowed. "It was my fault!" "What?" she asked perplexedly in between a sob. "My curse hit Dolohov a second too late." "Oh ... Lyra, it's not your fault. Remus died bravely, and he would have died with or without you. But how I'll ever manage without him ... " She trailed away. I wanted to tell her to get up and fight or flee, because at any given moment a Death Eater could - and would cast a curse at her; she was an easy target. But I couldn't find the heart to tell her to leave Remus, so I let her grieve. "THERE SHE IS!" A screech echoed through the air and brought me back to the battle. I looked up and gasped when I saw Bellatrix, also unmasked, running toward Dora with her black hair streaming behind her and the usual insane look in her eyes.

"Dora, look out!" I yelled just as a stream of green light flew at her. She dodged it at the very last moment as she rose to the ground, trembling. In a second all her strength was back, and she glared at Bellatrix with her wand in her hand, prepared for the duel to come. "You," she muttered. "You wouldn't dare kill me, would you? Not your niece? Not the daughter of your little sister?" "She is no sister of mine!" Bellatrix yelled, casting another curse, though it wasn't green. "I'm here on the Dark Lord's orders to exterminate you! I promised him!" "Lyra, let's go," Theodore whispered. "We can attack her from behind if we hurry!" "No! I'm not going to let Dora fall like Remus did! I'd do anything to save her, even if I have to unmask myself! I'm not going anywhere; I'll attack Bellatrix with a moment's notice!" He shrugged in defeat, looking miserable, and we returned to the frightening scene before us. "What about Lyra, then?" Dora asked as she sent a Stunning spell at my mother. "You know we were close; you wouldn't want to put her through any more pain by killing me, would you?" "Lyra is not part of this! It is time to finish this once and for all and bring purity back to the Black family! Avada Kedavra!" "Dora, no!" I'd hardly noticed the scream that escaped my lips. The next few seconds seemed to pass in slow motion as the green jet of light sped closer to Dora's heart. I knocked into her forcefully and the two of us fell with a loud thud. I heard a crunch; the impact seemed to have broken her arm. The green light grazed the top of my head and knocked back my hood, but it didn't matter. There was no reason for secrets anymore. "Lyra!" Bellatrix yelled. "What are you doing? You're a Death Eater; you're fighting for the Dark Lord!" "You think I'm not part of this?" I spat, ripping of my mask and giving her the most venomous glare I had ever given. "I've always been a part of this!"

To my surprise, she began to laugh. "You're right. You've always been a part of this, and it's time to punish you for good." She muttered an incantation and sent a dangerous-looking beam of light toward me. I ducked, but the spell missed me entirely. A splitsecond later it slammed Theodore in the chest. He was thrust backward and landed on the ground, unmoving. End Notes: Please promise me you'll keep reading! There is still a LOT more to come! Want to review? It doesn't take very long :) Back to index Chapter 53- Finale by Lyra Lestrange Author's Notes: Wow, that was a long wait. I've been caught up in the sweep of back-to-school. I'm so, so sorry. You didn't deserve to wait that long after such an evil cliffhanger. Will you forgive me? ~Chapter 53- Finale~ "Oh no. Oh no, no, no, no, no!" I yelled. "He can't be ... he's not ... no ... " The world around me had fallen silent. All my eyes could take in was the still body lying just a few feet away from me. The spell Bellatrix had used on him had not been green, at least not from what I could remember ... yet, it had been so swift that I could barely comprehend the scene that had flashed before me seconds ago. I rushed to his side and dropped to my knees, panicked and gasping for breath. To me, the world has stopped. "Theodore ... please don't be ... please ... " I breathed. My thoughts were blurred except for a single question: Was he still alive or was he ... dead? "Is he breathing?" someone said. I jumped. I had forgotten that anybody else existed. It took me a moment, but I recognized Dora's voice. She kneeled down beside me. "Is he breathing?" she repeated. "Does he have a pulse?" "I ... don't ... know ... " I said between gasps. Then I removed his mask, lifted a trembling hand, and pressed it to his neck, searching for the beats of a working heart. My fingers shook too violently to detect a pulse. "I'll do it," Dora said gently. I pulled back my hand and let her search for the pulse. Seconds seeming to last days passed, and her expression became graver. Finally she said, "I can't feel anything." "No!" I exclaimed as my chest tightened. I was losing the ability to

breathe by the second. I was about to pass out like I always did under distress. "I ... I don't think he's breathing," Dora muttered quietly as if she almost didn't intend for me to hear. Everything went blurry and my face felt hot and wet. The tears had come, but they weren't of sadness, really. They were more from fear, I guessed. As I cried, my hyperventilating didn't become any better. "Come on," Dora said quietly. "We need to get you away so you can calm down." "No! Dora, no! I want to fight! I want to kill her!" "You can't fight in this condition! Come with me!" "NO!" "Over there! Avada Kedavra!" someone else shouted. Two Death Eaters were approaching and one had just shot a Killing Curse in our direction. Thinking quick, Dora managed to dodge it at the last second. It was as if the real world had penetrated the bubble in which time had stopped. The Death Eater reminded me that the battle was still raging. "Lyra, I know it's hard, but you have to get somewhere safe." "Which is nowhere! Dora, I ... can't ... leave ... him ... here ... " I stopped talking and clasped my hands against my chest, wheezing too hard to talk anymore. Everything around went black as my breath was taken from within me. It was like being crushed through the void of Apparition, but this wasn't a void and the pressure and pain was ten times worse. "Lyra!" I heard Dora scream at the last moment before everything was gone.

I woke up on a hard dirt ground. When I opened my eyes, I trembled in my robes, drenched with cold sweat. Someone in the area gasped and shouted my name. Seconds later he was beside me. "Lyra! Lyra, you're awake!"

Rodolphus! The only words I managed to mutter from my barely-conscious shell on the ground was, "Theodore. Theodore." "Lyra, do you know where Theodore is?" Rodolphus asked. "Nobody here has seen him and his father's starting to worry." "Theodore ... he ... he ... Dad, it's her!" I suddenly exclaimed. All energy flowed back into my body and I leapt to my feet. I now knew where I was: in a circle of Death Eaters in the Forbidden Forest. To my embarrassment, however, I was right in the middle where everyone could see what was happening. Ashamed as I was, I ignored this and looked for her. Bellatrix was sitting right next to the Dark Lord, glaring at me with mocking and satisfaction in her eyes. "YOU! I'LL KILL YOU!" I charged at her as fast as I felt I had ever run with my wand raised high. She simply cackled, letting it ring out into the night air. I had never felt such a desire to attack ... to kill ... I stopped. I couldn't kill her, not even her, not even after what she did. But I didn't lower my wand. "Cru ... Crucio ... " I muttered. Nothing happened. The spell was too weak. I was too weak. "Lyra, what did she do?" Rodolphus asked. "She ... she attacked him ... " I closed my eyes and felt fresh tears leak from my eyes. "I don't know what she used, but I don't think he's ... he's ... he's not alive ... " "You mean Theodore?" he asked. "Bella, you didn't - ?" "You mean to tell me my son is dead?" a new voice spoke, and I saw Mr. Nott approach. Another panic attack was about to spill from me. What was I supposed to say to him? "He ... wasn't breathing ... " "This is all your fault!" he yelled unexpectedly, which caused me to jump. "If you hadn't told him to follow you around everywhere, he wouldn't be dead right now! I knew something was going to happen sooner or later!"

"Nott, please ... can't you tell she's suffering enough right now?" Rodolphus said as he approached me and pulled me into a tight hug. "Now, Bella ... did you really k-kill Theodore?" His voice shook in disbelief as he tried to spit the word out. Bellatrix stood up and strode to stand in front of us. She looked my father straight in the eyes with a new look on her face - she almost looked ... sane, for once. I had never seen this look before, not on her. "Rodolphus, I ... I used - " "This is all very touching," an icy voice spoke, "but there are more important matters to deal with right now, such as Potter. He should be arriving here soon." Voldemort. He was highly displeased with our conversation. "My Lord, we understand, but there are important issues among us right now - " "Silence!" Voldemort snapped, shooting a blast of white light at Rodolphus. He fell to the ground, writhing and moaning in pain. "Now sit down," said the Dark Lord. "I think I hear something. Potter may be approaching." "My Lord, do you really think he's coming - ?" asked Bellatrix, but Voldemort whispered, "Silence!" again and shot the white light at her. I remembered that I was still standing in the center of the circle, so I stumbled out as quickly as possible. My energy had been drained again, and I nearly collapsed when I reached my father. He had already returned to his feet and was sitting on an empty log and was beckoning me to sit next to him. "You look tired," he muttered gently, obviously hoping the Dark Lord would not hear. "I am," I murmured as I rested my head against him and closed my eyes. "But I don't want to fall asleep. There's so much I could miss." "Sleep if you must," he said firmly, though not unfriendly, but there was no point. I was already drifting away. Even though I was sitting on a dead tree in a circle of people I hated with loads on my mind, such as Theodore's state and whether Harry was coming or not, shock got the better of me and I drifted away.

"Are yeh happy Harry Potter's - d - dead ... ?" [*] A booming voice awoke me. I was more than happy to wake up from my terrible nightmare about seeing everyone I loved - whether they were dead or alive - being killed before me in every way possible. Yet when I woke up I realized that the real world was more of a nightmare than my sleep land. "What happened?" I whispered to the air, not sure if anyone was around. People were, apparently, because Rodolphus's voice spoke, "Potter's ... dead." "What?" I shot up from my sleeping place, which was the log of the fallen tree. "Harry? Dead? But he can't be!" "Be quiet!" Rodolphus hissed angrily, causing me to shrink away from him. More gently he told me, "Something happened when the Dark Lord killed him. Something went wrong, and now the Dark Lord is ... well, we're not really sure what's happened. But he's getting up now, and he's ordering us to come. Quick, get up and follow everyone." I saw that the Death Eaters were filing out of the clearing. I stumbled along behind them, but only until we reached the edge of the forest. I stopped and took in the scene. Voldemort was telling everyone that Harry was dead and they had to join him or killed without mercy. "Dad," I whispered, "please let me go. I want to find Theodore so I can confirm for myself if he's ... if he's - well, I'm going to sneak away. I can put myself under a Disillusionment Charm." "I don't know, Lyra. The Dark Lord is about to take control ... " I froze as the reality of Harry's death struck. The supposed Chosen One' was dead. It was all over. Voldemort would take over and force everyone to join him. He would kill all Muggles, Muggle-borns, and blood traitors until they were totally exterminated. It was the end of life as we all knew it. "What's wrong?" my father asked me. I realized I had started crying again. Through my tears I murmured, "It's all over."

Rodolphus nodded solemnly and pulled me into a hug. "I know. I'm so sorry. This is the end for us all." "I have to go," I pleaded. "Please let me. I can sneak away from whatever is happening up there." "Go ahead, then, but be careful. Oh, and Lyra, I would go to the Great Hall first." "Great Hall. Okay. Great Hall. I'll do that. Thanks." I cast a Disillusionment Charm over me and snuck across the grounds, headed for the Herbology greenhouses. I glimpsed someone in the crowd wearing the Sorting Hat and gasped out loud when it exploded into flames. As I saw the Dark Lord cause destruction all around me, Harry's limp body was cradled in Hagrid's giant arms. I forced myself to stop staring, because this could be my last chance to do anything on my own. Once the Dark Lord took over, there was no going back. I couldn't prevent the dark thoughts from invading my mind as I trekked closer to the oak front doors. There would be no more proper Hogwarts, no more Order of the Phoenix, no more Ministry as we used to know it, no more freedom. As I slipped through the doors, I lost it completely when I remembered what Theodore always told me: The war was going to end, and we would be together. The war had ended, of course, but not in the right way. And we wouldn't be together, not now, not ever. I leaned against the door to the Great Hall and sobbed into my hands. I didn't know what was waiting for me inside, but I wasn't ready to face it. I opened the door anyway with an unsteady hand and entered. The sight before me nearly made me faint. This wasn't the Great Hall. This was a room full of bodies of those who had fallen earlier that evening. I was the only living soul in there, it appeared-everyone else was outside in the crowd. With a shudder I saw Remus lying in one of the rows, and thought about how Dora would have been next to him if I hadn't stopped Bellatrix. Then I fell to my knees as a powerful wave of shock hit me. If I hadn't saved Dora, Bellatrix wouldn't have attacked Theodore. Had he fallen because of me? If Dora had died instead, would Theodore still be ... alive? I forced myself to my feet. I had to find him. A tiny ray of hope found its way into my thoughts and I remembered that I hadn't seen Bellatrix shoot a green spell at him. Yet I wasn't even sure of that,

and I remembered how he wasn't breathing and the way he didn't have a pulse. With another shudder I saw Fred Weasley's body. How many others had died? This gruesome sight was too much for me. I was about to turn and leave when I saw him. Theodore was just a few down from Fred. I rushed over to him at top speed and knelt down beside him, hoping with all my heart that he was breathing now. Excitement hit me when I remembered that minor coma I had been before; I wondered if he was in the same state. But he looked more corpselike than earlier, and when I touched his hand it was as cold as ice. The tears came again, more than I could remember crying for a long time. I closed my eyes and clapped my hand over my face, but as soon as I did so awful visions came into my head. I saw Bellatrix knocking Sirius through the veil. I saw her using the Cruciatus Curse on me countless times. I saw her shooting a Killing Curse at Dora, and I saw her rage when I had interfered with her plan to kill my cousin. I saw her shooting the curse at Theodore, causing him to fly through the air and hit the ground. I opened my eyes with a gasp. The instant replay had shown it to me: the curse wasn't green, it was white! I looked at Theodore again, waiting for him to wake up. I was sure that there weren't any other types of Killing Curses besides Avada Kedavra. However, I knew that it was useless to get my hopes up. Anyone could see that he wasn't going to wake up. I had reached my breaking point. I jumped up and sprinted out of the Hall, desperately hoping I would never have to see anything like that again. Outside, I leaned against the door and sobbed loudly, aware that nobody could hear me. Even if somebody could, it didn't matter to me, because everything was lost. I thought we'd had a future together. I'd always believed him when he said we would be together after the war. I'd thought Voldemort would be destroyed because he couldn't love anyone, couldn't love like we did. But it was all a fantasy, because in the real world good didn't always conquer evil. Evil had prevailed, and now my heart ached when I thought of how we would never see or hold or kiss each other again. I concluded that love wasn't real. If someone who couldn't love could overpower those who could, then it didn't exist. Love was a

feeling you had for someone before they were taken away, leaving you with a massive gaping hole inside. If loved existed, it was something no less than cruel, wicked, pure evil ... Suddenly several loud crashes split the silent castle, and once again I remembered that this battle wasn't quite over, even though Voldemort had killed Harry. Everyone - Death Eaters and defenders were all flooding into the Hall. Shrieks and cries filled the air, colorful jets of lights sped all over the place, and duels broke out. People of the fight streamed into the Great Hall, acting as if I wasn't standing there. I moved aside and saw the Dark Lord enter with his red eyes smoldering. I remembered the Disillusionment Charm I was under and quickly removed it as the strongest urge to get revenge hit me. I would find Bellatrix, and I would duel her ... and I would kill her. When she caught my eye, I saw that she was dueling Hermione Granger, Ginny Weasley, and Luna Lovegood all at once. Ginny was nearly hit with a jet of emerald light and it only took a split-second for Mrs. Weasley to react. She ran at Bellatrix, screaming at the top of her lungs as my mother simply cackled back at her, but within heartbeats they were dueling ferociously. I could tell what was coming before it did. The curse Mrs. Weasley sent at Bellatrix was moments from her heart when I decided to act. I ran into the chaotic quarrel and pushed Bellatrix to the ground with as much force as I could collect. "Lyra! Not again!" "What's this?" Mrs. Weasley spat. "I almost had her!" "No, you didn't!" I yelled back. "She's mine to kill, because she killed ... " I couldn't say his name. I relaxed my tight hold on Bellatrix by accident; she used it to her advantage and stood up again. Facing me, she said, "Lyra, this is it. Nothing works on you. Not Sirius's death, not becoming a Death Eater, not even what I did to Theodore. You've caused too much trouble for me. You always get in the way every single plan! You were supposed to be a daughter of the Dark Side, but you've betrayed everything I wanted!" "It's all about you, isn't it?" I screamed back. "I am a daughter of the Dark Side and I'll always be - but really, whose fault is that? It's yours, because you got shut up. If you hadn't, maybe I would be the perfect Death Eater daughter you dreamed of! You have nobody to blame but yourself."

She glared at me angrily and drew her wand up. With a fiery tone she spat, "Like I said before, this is the end. I'm not putting up with your interference anymore." "Fine! Go ahead! But you killed Theodore, and for that you're going to suffer!" "That was punishment!" "You also killed Sirius, and I'll get you for that as well!" "That was a long time ago!" "You nearly killed Dora, your niece! She's Andromeda's daughter remember Andromeda, your younger sister, the one you used to be so close to?" "That was on the Dark Lord's orders!" "Excuses don't justify the crime. It's time to end the war between the two of us," I shouted. At the very same time we aimed our wands and shouted, "Avada Kedavra!" Two green bands of light shot to the center and collided. They hit each other with a booming explosion and split like shattering glass into hundreds of tiny green comets that fell and dappled the floor with singe marks. All around the pair of us were petrified people staring at the scene with wide eyes. Even Mrs. Weasley seemed to have forgotten about her duel. I looked into my mother's eyes, not knowing what to think. She stared back with a mostly unreadable expression, though she was certainly shocked. "Did we just - ?" I muttered, not really asking anyone a question. "My daughter ... I almost ... " Bellatrix mumbled, surprising me. She was feeling regret, probably for the first time in a long time. I couldn't believe it. I had actually cast a Killing Curse. I hadn't succeeded - and thankfully. How would I ever be able to live with the guilt? She was, after all, the one who had given birth to me. She was the one I'd wanted to meet back when I was younger, before I knew who I truly was. The question that burned me was this: Maybe she was blinded by insanity, but would it be possible for that to lift? Had it just vanished, and were we really seeing each other for real, for the first time ever?

The Hall fell eerily silent. For a heartbeat I wondered if everyone had left their duels and were each staring at us now. But when I looked over, I saw that they were all fixed on something else. Someone's body was sprawled across the floor in the center; someone lay dead and unmoving, someone I couldn't see from where I stood but when I approached, it was quite obvious. It was Voldemort. And across from him stood Harry, Harry Potter, the Boy Who Lived, the Chosen One, the one who was supposed to be dead right now. The Hall broke out into applause and screams of happiness. But one voice rose above the rest, piercingly loud, screaming, "NO!" Bellatrix dashed over to the Dark Lord's body, pushing through the crowd to confirm for herself if it was true. She knelt down beside him and screeched at the top of her voice, "MY LORD! POTTER HAS KILLED HIM!" Several spells shot at her and she was silenced. I cautiously walked over to the spot (I tried not to shrink away when I saw the shrunken white body) and looked around for any sign indicating what I had missed. But there was nothing except the triumphant defenders cheering their thanks to the Boy Who Lived. "No ... what did I ever do to deserve this?" Bellatrix moaned, but quieter this time. Her voice was apparently back. "What did I do to deserve losing the man I loved? What did I do?" The man she loved? Those words confirmed it. My mother had desperately loved Lord Voldemort for the man he was, not the deeds he'd crazed her with. Of course, the Dark Lord obviously had never loved her back. He was proof of that; the exact opposite of living proof. "You didn't do anything," I murmured loud enough for her to hear. "It was him. He couldn't love, so he failed." I gasped. To myself I muttered, "Theodore was right." "And what do you know about love?" she asked accusingly, but there was deep pain and sorrow in her eyes. I shrugged somberly. "Probably more than you." End Notes: [*] Quote taken from the American Edition on Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, page 728 Contrary to what people seem to think, this is not the last chapter!

Back to index Chapter 54- The Lost Letters by Lyra Lestrange Author's Notes: Guess whaaaaat? It's almost done. Here's the big finale chapter. ~Chapter 54- The Lost Letters~ Some scars will never heal, I kept telling myself. Sure, the battle was over. Harry never really died. But I felt no desire to celebrate. The price had been so high; too much had been lost. I was curled up in my old bed in Gryffindor Tower, which I had retreated to as soon as I could. At last I could be alone with nothing but my thoughts, my depressed and haunting thoughts. The night had been so long; sleep claimed me easily in spite of everything on my mind. Eventually I woke up to bold orange light streaming into the dormitory window. I climbed out of bed and took a moment to gaze into the night. A handful of people walked around the grounds, but most had already left for home. I wasn't to leave for home yet. There was also the fact that I couldn't because I didn't have a broom and wasn't capable of Apparating. A thorn of sadness pierced me as I realized that Theodore had Apparated me here. Maybe this was where I should stay. Hogwarts was, after all, where everything had started. I looked out at the lake and remembered the countless hours spent there at night when we were supposed to be in the castle, sound asleep. Fresh tears hit my eyes when I remembered the night I first had my nightmare about the snakes. It was the first time I had really talked to him, and he had confided his deepest secrets in me even though he hardly knew me.f We had argued with each other that night. A faint smile touched my lips when I remembered the way we used to resent each other. "Lyra." What was that noise? It sounded just like his voice. But I was only imagining it, I knew. It was all inside my head, because he was never coming back, never. I squeezed my eyelids shut against the fresh flow of dripping tears. Some scars will never heal ... "Lyra." I felt something against my shoulder. Now I could feel his touch. I sobbed harder, praying for it to stop.

"Lyra, it's me." I turned around. He was standing right there before me. I shut my eyes again. Now I could see him. These hallucinations needed to end! He was gone, and I couldn't let myself believe he was back. "I know what you're thinking, but I'm really here. Lyra, open your eyes." I wouldn't. I refused to. This wasn't even a dream; it was a nightmare worse than the snakes. I felt myself being lifted from the ground and pulled into softness and warmth. His vision whispered to me, "It's okay. I'm here, Lyra. It's me, Theodore. I'm alive, I promise you!" I obeyed this time, but only because I thought everything would end if I opened my eyes and awoke from this nightmare. I found myself standing, clasped tightly in his arms. How was it possible that he felt so real? Then again, those dream-snakes had felt real. When I looked up, I saw his face just as it had been. Breaking free from his arms, I flopped onto my bed and screamed, "Stop! Stop it! I want this to end!" Behind me he sighed and said, "I really hate to do this, but I have no choice. I'll show you you're not dreaming. Aguamenti!" Cold water hit me and brought me to my senses. My eyes flew open and I saw the dormitory as it had been moments ago. Everything was exactly the same, so was I, in fact, awake? I sprang to my feet. Sure enough, Theodore was standing before me. He wasn't dead at all. His face glowed in pleasure, but he didn't dare come near me again. "How - ?" I croaked. He smiled. "It's a long story." "But I thought you died! I thought she killed you!" "I thought I was dead too. I really did. It was so confusing, and I'm not sure what happened. I was in a world of pain and I couldn't move, but I could hear and feel everything. I can't explain it, but I know I'm alive now. I woke up about an hour ago. I heard the Dark Lord is dead." "He - he is."

"Potter killed him?" "Yes." I sat back down on the bed and fixed a stare upon at him. This was too bizarre. "So ... will you tell me everything that happened? I heard the whole battle going on in the Hall," he said as he sat down beside me. "You heard the battle?" "Yeah." After a tiny pause, he added with a bit of reluctance, "I heard you crying earlier, too. I felt you touch my hand. I wanted to wake up right then more than anything. I wanted to tell you I was fine. I was also afraid ... " "Afraid of what?" "I was afraid that I would never wake up, and since I appeared to be dead, I wasn't sure what was going to happen to me. Well, I still wasn't sure if I was dead or alive. I hope I never have to go through that again." I stood up and walked to the window, shaking my head. "This is scary. I don't know what kind of spell that was, but I ... I'll find out!" A sudden spark of inspiration hit me, and I felt stupid for not realizing how obvious the solution was. "I'll ask Bellatrix what she did if and when I get the chance. I'll find out even if I have to torture it out of her." Then a new thought hit me. "Wait a second," I said as I whirled around to face him. "This must be going on in my head, because this is the Gryffindor girls' dormitory. How could you get in here?" He actually laughed. I felt my face grow red as he said, "Ever since the battle, none of the protection stuff really matters. The Fat Lady portrait let me in. You're not dreaming, Lyra. Please understand that." "I just ... can't ... " "Believe it! If this were a dream, how could I touch you or ... or shoot water at you from my wand and have you feel it? If this were a dream, how would I be able to do this?" He got up from the bed, moved closer, and began to kiss me with more affection than he ever had. Warmth encompassed me as his lips moved against mine, and I found myself kissing him back ... and it was in that moment that I knew everything around me was real

and I wasn't dreaming and the war was over and we could be together now and love wasn't such a malevolent thing ... I could never remember kissing him for that long. Eventually we separated and I felt much different somehow. It was joy, I concluded, as a smile touched my lips - a real smile. "So," Theodore breathed, "are you ready to go home now?" "Where's home?" I asked, aware that I sounded dumb, but I had to find out. "Your aunt's house. I'll Apparate you there. But before we leave, what would you say to a walk around the lake?" "How could I say no?" Hand-in-hand we left the dormitory without a care in the world, heading for the lake to spend a single peaceful evening together.

The stars were out when we Apparated to Andromeda's house. Though the time spent by the lake had been tranquil, I had a dark feeling that mood was all about to vanish. I rang the doorbell cautiously. Dora, puffy-eyed with limp brown hair, opened the door slowly and gasped. "Lyra! And ... and ... Theodore? But I thought - " "So did we, but there'll be time to explain later," I told her. "Well, come in." She moved back so we could get through, sniffing loudly as she returned to her place on the couch next to Andromeda, who cradled a baby boy in her arms. Dora gently took him back as she sat down. "Andromeda," I gasped. "I haven't seen you since I was captured." "Oh, Lyra ... " She rushed over and hugged me tightly. "I was so worried. I had no idea if you were okay or not." "I'm all right now," I reassured her as she released me. "Oh, and this is Theodore," I explained. Andromeda shook his hand politely but awkwardly. "It's nice to finally meet you, though I'm sure we all wish the circumstances

could different. I'm Andromeda Tonks, Lyra's aunt." Even though she was respectful and Theodore returned the greeting just as courteously, I could tell she was confused. Dora must have explained Theodore's supposed status to her. "This must be Teddy!" I said with a little too much enthusiasm considering the mood of the room, but I was determined to break the uncomfortable silence and confusion. I approached Dora and the newborn, wanting a good look at my nephew (second cousin, really, but why nitpick?). I was surprised to see that he looked nothing like Dora or Remus. His hair was jet black and his face didn't resemble anyone in the family. "Is he ... Dora, is he a Metamorphmagus like you?" Nodding through fresh tears and running her hand against his head, she whispered, "He'll never know his father. He'll never know what he did for the world." "Dora," I said, "Remus died in a heroic way. Teddy will hear the stories; he'll know it all. You'll have to tell him what Remus did. He lost his life fighting for what was right." Dora nodded slowly. "You're ... you're right. But I just ... it's not fair for a child to grow up without - " "Parents," I finished for her. "But Dora, if you'd lost your life tonight, he wouldn't have any parents to care for him. He'd be just like ... me, not knowing who they were. At least he'll know who his mother is." "Lyra," she whispered as quietly as possible, "what happened with Theodore?" "We don't have any idea," I replied in the same hushed voice. "But he was never dead." She looked just as confused as ever. I couldn't blame her. "Andromeda!" I turned around. "Do you have any idea where the Death Eaters went? I need to speak to Bellatr - well, you know who." "I have no idea." Her voice sounded bitter. "The Ministry probably captured them all," Dora answered. "I bet they're all on their way to Azkaban right now." There was ferocity in her tone, as if she believed they all deserved more than prison. "No!" I gasped. "But I need to speak to her! And Rodolphus - they

can't lock him up!" Andromeda and Dora looked at me with puzzled and almost angry expressions. I was quick to defend my father. "He's not like other Death Eaters," I insisted. "He actually cares about me. Honestly." "It's true," Theodore told them. "You'd have to meet him - " CRACK. A sharp blast split the air and cut Theodore off. Bellatrix had just Apparated into the house. The sound repeated and Rodolphus appeared behind her. Well, I hadn't expected that. Bellatrix turned to me with a dark look on her face and growled, "Come on, Lyra. We're leaving." She acted as if nobody else stood in the room. I gave her a bewildered stare and simply muttered, "You're an idiot if you think this is going to be that easy. The Dark Lord may be gone, but that doesn't mean we pretend this war never happened." To my surprise, her gaze softened. "You're right, the Dark Lord is gone. There's nothing left to do. We might as well just live our lives," she said calmly. "As if nothing ever happened?" I shrieked. "Tonight, because of your lot, so many people died! Remus Lupin was killed, leaving his son behind! And you almost killed Dora! Teddy was almost orphaned! But a child without parents doesn't matter to you, does it? You never cared about me. You didn't care that I was practically an orphan. You say you cared, but if you did, you wouldn't have been locked up in Azkaban! You don't about him, either!" I pointed to Rodolphus. "You only care that he's a pure-blood! You haven't loved him since you joined the Death Eaters and you never loved me! All you cared about was serving your master! And he's gone! He's gone, he's dead! He's not coming back, so you're left with this, the remnants of the family you never cared about!" Her face was hard as stone as she stared at me. In a dark, low voice, she murmured, "You know I cared about you." "NO, YOU DID - " Suddenly Dora stepped up in front of me and spoke to her aunt. "You can choose where your loyalties lie. Is it the Dark Arts or your family? If it's the Dark Arts, you can kill me to prove it. If you'd just

finished me off tonight, I wouldn't have cared. I'd be with Remus now instead of left behind. But if you care about your family - or care about Lyra, I guess, because I know you don't give a flobberworm about me - you won't do a thing. So, go on. Show us where your loyalties lie." I couldn't help it - Dora's words made me angry. My cousin usually wasn't that nave. I'm sorry, Dora, I thought bitterly. I'm sorry Remus was the only person in your life worth living for. "There's no point," I growled, though I knew arguing with her was pointless. She wouldn't back away no matter how much I begged. But somewhere, deep down, I had a strange feeling that Bellatrix wouldn't do a thing. She pulled out her wand and held it up in front of Dora. "Go on," Dora said. "It's up to you." In the chair behind her, Andromeda cried as silently as she could, but the muffled sounds of heavy sobs were unmistakable. "You deserve to be killed," Bellatrix said. "You're a filthy half-blood, daughter of a blood-traitor, and wife to a werewolf!" "Not anymore!" Dora said, sobbing harder than ever now. "He's dead! That Death Eater - Dolohov - killed him! And now ... " She couldn't say anymore, but fell to her knees and cried into her hands. "You disgust me," Bellatrix said. And then, the words came. Slowly, her mouth formed the words of the incantation: "Avada - " CRACK. A new face appeared in the room: Narcissa. Why was she here so spontaneously? "Bella!" she exclaimed frantically. "I thought I might find you here! Come on, we need to leave, now! You can come with Lucius, Draco, and me before they come for us!" "Cissy, wait. I have some business to take care of," Bellatrix told her coolly. "Which is what?" Narcissa snapped. "We need to hurry before the Aurors come! Or do you want to be locked up again?" "Cissy, I told you - " "Stop!" I shouted. "Just ... stop. Listen to me." Andromeda, Bellatrix, Rodolphus, Dora, Theodore, and Narcissa all

stared at me. I went on. "Before you leave, just let me say this. I get it now. I see what happened. What I'm about to say may be obvious, but it's something I want to get off my chest. It's been holding me down forever, and I just have to speak." The words came to me in fluent sentences: The reason for Bellatrix's actions, her insanity, her obsession with torture. "You were brainwashed," I said to her. "Your parents made you think the pure-bloods were superior. You only joined them because that was what they expected. You did love Rodolphus at one time, but you fell in love with something else - Voldemort's deeds. But he failed because of that one thing - love. So he died, and those who could love survived or died fighting. You loved at one time - you loved your sisters, but your parents turned you against that because you thought Andromeda was wrong for marrying Ted. But she loved him, and that meant more to her than her parents beliefs. You couldn't understand that, and that was why you failed. That's why your precious Dark Lord is gone. Eventually, it all comes back to love." She stared at me, unblinking for several moments. When she finally said something, it was only to mutter, "But she married a Mudblood, so ... " "Yes!" Andromeda said suddenly, still weeping a river. "Yes, I did! But it doesn't matter anymore, because he's dead! He was killed by your people! And you couldn't care less, could you, Bella? Maybe we were once close, but you swore to never communicate with me again ... " She trailed off, and the rest of us stopped, thinking about what she'd just used: her sister's pet name. The words quietly came from Dora's lips. "You called her Bella." Bellatrix could only stare at Andromeda. Finally, she spoke to her for the first time in however many years. "You never gave up, did you?" she said as if she knew of nothing more pathetic. Silence. Andromeda sniffed. Then Bellatrix's high-pitched laugh split the silence. "You thought I'd come around even after you betrayed the family! Well, let's get a few things straight, Andromeda Tonks - " "Bella ... Bella, wait," Narcissa said unexpectedly.

"What?" Bellatrix snarled, pointing her wand at her fragile-looking sister. "I don't care ... about her," Narcissa said. "Andromeda is a bloodtraitor. But ... think about your daughter. Think about how Andromeda raised her. You wouldn't want to kill the person who was the closest thing she had to a mother." She had chosen her words with great care, yet everyone knew that she had crossed the line. She was begging for Bellatrix's wrath to rain down upon her, and sure enough, the oldest sister rounded on the youngest, heat boiling in her face. Then she roared, "I'm her mother! What do you mean by the closest thing she had to a mother? I am her mother!" Narcissa shook her head and the tiny words "You're not" escaped her mouth. "Bella," she said, "I couldn't bear seeing what you did to her, not when I had a son of my own! I didn't understand how careless you were with Lyra when there was nobody I wanted to protect more than my Draco. I ... I think she had a point, Bella! You never loved her like you should have - just like you should have loved Rodolphus and Andromeda, blood traitor or not. Look - " She walked over to me and pulled back my sleeve. "She'll have that Mark forever. And Andy will forever be a blood traitor, but that's no reason for any of this." She stopped, as if something had just hit her with the force of a speeding Bludger. Not only had she, like Andromeda, used one of the sisters' old nicknames, but her tone had changed. It seemed unfeasible that Narcissa could be feeling remorse, but there was something in her voice. She closed her eyes, clasped her hands together, and braced herself for the consequences of her next statement. "I regret it all," she said quietly. "After all, I never really wanted to join the Dark Side. It was just a part of growing up in the Black family as well as marrying Lucius. But seeing my family torn apart and thrown into danger like that was driving me mad. And now it's over, so what's left to do but move forward?" Next thing I knew, the world had turned upside-down. Before everyone's eyes, Narcissa pulled Andromeda into a hug and said, "Andy, I'm so sorry for everything. I never should have disowned you. I'm sorry about Ted, too. Things should have been different." Andromeda, shaking tremendously, hugged her back and said in almost a whisper, "Thanks, Cissy."

The rest of us stood stupefied until Bellatrix exclaimed, "Cissy!" "No, Bella! Even after everything that's happened, we should ... I think we should ... reconcile." My mind was whirling. If Theodore returning hadn't been a dream, this surely was. How did we know Narcissa was being sincere? Something in the way she comforted Andromeda forced me to believe she was. Around me, Rodolphus, Theodore, and Dora were just as bewildered while Bellatrix wore a look of pure outrage. I took advantage of the silence. "Bellatrix," I said. "Mum, please ... listen. There's no denying what you've done and there's no taking it back." My tears were returning. "But Rodolphus and now Narcissa have shown they can change their perspective. You could too ... " I trailed away. My heart ached when I thought about the other thing on my mind: that I had always held onto the hope that she would eventually realize how warped her mind had become after all those years in Azkaban. But if the Dark Lord's death couldn't snap her out of it, nothing would ... would it? Could I, as her daughter? With the support of my father and my aunt? I continued my speech. "You know, I loved the life I had growing up. Andromeda and Ted were great to me. But I always felt like something was missing. I wanted to know my mum so I could know who I was. And when I finally met you in Hogsmeade that day, you wouldn't believe what I felt, finally meeting you at last, but then you left me alone. I'd finally met my mother only to have her leave me behind again." I took a deep breath. "And then came ... the Department of Mysteries battle. You ... killed Sirius ... and then everyone found out who I was ... " I had to take a moment to regain control. "It turned out all right because I didn't have to be stupid Lindsey Tonks. Just think: if you hadn't been locked up in Azkaban, I wouldn't have had to live my life as her. As someone else. All I wanted was to know my parents for who they were. Rodolphus gave me that, and I forgave him." I stared Bellatrix in the eyes. The expression she returned was unreadable. From the corner of my eye, I saw Narcissa with tears in her eyes, Andromeda still in her embrace. "Lyra ... " she whispered, "That was amazing. Bella, listen to her."

The aunt I never knew smiled at me through her tears for the first time, and I returned it. Then I faced my mother again, and that's when I saw it more clearly than ever. That mad glow in her dark eyes was fading, and before any of us knew it, she was on her knees, sobbing. "I'm sorry! I realize everything now! Lyra was right! I failed because Mum and Dad brainwashed me and the Dark Lord made me believe it was right, and Azkaban just intensified that! It was all because of the Dark Lord! He was my master, but I felt a different sort of affection toward him, so I devoted myself to his ways! Lyra, I know you've said all of these things before, but - " " - It took the Dark Lord's death for you to actually comprehend it," I finished for her. She nodded slowly. "I have to confess something to you, Lyra. Before the incident with the Longbottoms, the thought of Rodolphus and me having a proper family was exactly what we wanted. I never, ever wanted you to be taken away." "He told me," I murmured quietly. "I hardly believed it though, because I wasn't there when that happened," I said. Then I gave a tiny laugh. "Well, I guess I was there. But you know what I mean. I can't remember it." "I wish I could prove it to you," she said. I was astonished by how quickly she had transformed and even more stunned at how quickly I was accepting this new Bellatrix. What a dangerous thing to do. For all I knew, this was one of the many tricks up her sleeve. "Please prove it," I said. "How?" she snapped, and for a brief moment the old Bellatrix was back. "I already told you everything. I don't know how to prove it." "Veritaserum," I said with a shrug. "Nobody has that on them, Lyra." After staying silent through the whole ordeal, my father had finally spoken. "And Bella, it's not like you to give up so easily." I'd never seen Bellatrix look so weary, but that's what Voldemort's death had done to her.

"There may be a way," Narcissa said thoughtfully. "Bella, do you remember the letter you sent me when you first arrived in Azkaban?" Bellatrix looked at her sister like she was mad, but then understood. "Oh ... yes. But those letters have been lost for over a decade." "Actually, they're not lost at all," Rodolphus claimed. "I kept the one from Narcissa as soon as it arrived in Azkaban and I found the other one in a box when we were cleaning out the Malfoys' manor." "You kept it?" Bellatrix asked, growing more amazed if that was even possible. A new expression of warmth was on her face as she looked at her husband. "Rodolphus, where is it? Where's the letter? Show it to me, now!" "It's not on me. They're at the manor. Let me see if I can find it." In a heartbeat, he had Disapparated. "Lyra," Bellatrix said, staring at me as if she were seeing me for the first time. "Can I trust you?" I said. "If that's too much to ask, I hope you can at least understand that I did care. I do care." What would've happened if Harry had died and Voldemort lived? My gut instinct gave me the answer ... she would've stayed insane forever. It took more than me to change her, more than Rodolphus, more than Narcissa. For the rest of us to live properly, Voldemort had to die. Wasn't that how it went for the rest of the world, too? A quarter of an hour passed before Rodolphus reappeared. "I found the letters. Here, Lyra." The one on top was written in a familiar hand ... Dear Cissy, I have a huge favor to ask of you. I need you to raise Lyra for me. The Ministry doesn't believe she exists, but you know the truth.I don't want to see her raised by anyone else. She needs to know her family. If I ever get out of here, I'll come back and raise her myself. I feel awful about everything, but I can't take back my actions. The Longbottoms did get what they deserved, I'll admit. But Lyra shouldn't be punished for something I did. I may never see her

again, and it would reassure me greatly if I knew she was in good hands. Please, Cissy! Do this for me. It means more to me than anything. Don't let Lyra suffer because of something that is my fault. Take care of her. -Bella To my father I said, "You kept this all those years?" He shrugged. "Read the next one." The next letter was Narcissa's response, which read: Dear Bella, I'm sorry, but it won't work. I can't raise two kids when Lucius is a Death Eater. It's too much for us and after all, you chose your path when you tortured the Longbottoms. I realize that the Dark Lord meant more to you than Lyra. I agree that she doesn't deserve to suffer for your actions, but there's nothing I can do. Lyra has been sent to the Tonks family. I know you won't like this, but she's better off there. The Ministry has also renamed her. Her existence is unknown to nearly everyone. I'm sorry, once again, but it's a done deal. She'll be happier there anyway. It's best if she grows up away from our side of the world. Think of how free she'll be to become whoever she wants, unburdened by the bindings of being in a Death Eater family. If I could change it, I would give Draco the same opportunities Lyra is going to get. Stay strong, Bella. -Cissy I looked at my aunt. She hadn't lied. She'd never wanted to be part of Voldemort's world; she'd just been sucked in. A rush of pity towards her and Draco hit me. Throughout my life, throughout the search of my identity, I'd never realized how free I really was compared to how it would've been. Why had I been so angry at the pair of them? If they'd never been locked up, I would've been a Death Eater, a real Death Eater, being carted off to Azkaban right now for who knows what. Tortures? Murders?

Realizing who I was - who I'd chosen to be - in comparison to who I would've been made me decide that yes, I could forgive her just like I'd forgiven my father. In going to Azkaban, the two of them had actually saved me. "Mum," I said, my voice constricted with emotion. It was time for a subject change. "Yes, Lyra?" "What did you do to Theodore earlier? What was that spell you used?" "Oh. That was a spell I invented. It was like a weaker Dementor's Kiss - one that would put someone in a half-dead state but with their soul still intact - crossed with the Cruciatus Curse for pain. The Dark Lord was proud of me for inventing it," she explained. There was an irritating touch of pride in her voice. "I had never tried it before. I wasn't sure what would happen if I used it. I didn't know if the victim would ever wake up." "That's cruel!" I snarled. "That was and evil thing to do! He was in a world of pain and we both thought he was dead! He didn't know what was going on! We were both devastated